Northwest NEWS

March 13, 2000

Front Page

New equipment will find people, haul water

water tender

Standing in front of Fire District 45's new water tender, Todd Cliggott, a firefighter since September, holds the department's new thermal imaging device.
Photo by Becky Nixon.

by Becky Nixon

   DUVALL--A new device that will help firefighters find fire or disaster victims has recently been purchased by Fire District 45, officials reported at the March 7 Chamber of Commerce meeting.

   Stu Rowe, fire district public educator and firefighter, said the new thermal imager is mainly a tool for search and rescue. "It will improve firefighter safety and lower search times by 75 percent," he said. "The trend will be to have one on every truck."

   Rowe said the $13,000 device has a headpiece a firefighter can wear while searching. "The firefighter can see an image based on temperature," he said. "People appear lighter in the image." He said the devices can also be used in flooding situations.

   The thermal imager is new technology that also makes finding the main body of fire much quicker and easier and can help firefighters reduce the amount of property damage by finding a hidden source of heat or smoke. It has a range of 800 to 1,000 feet.

   Rowe told Chamber of Commerce members that the district also purchased a new water tender to replace the old one. "It will be used in places with no water supply or where the water supply is not adequate," he said.

   The new tender has an automatic transmission, a 750gpm pump that operates similar to the fire engines, a 3,000 gallon water tank, and some ability for suppression.

   According to district officials, the old tender was difficult for firefighters to learn to operate and the department didn't have enough firefighters qualified to drive it. Since the new tender operates much like the fire engines, drivers are expected to easily be able to operate it.