St. Thomas Fire Department Becomes first in Canada to Get Advanced Search and Rescue Technology

The brave hearts at the St. Thomas fire department have gotten access to advanced search and rescue technology. It will help the firefighters get a visual picture of the incident location. Read more below.

Before having access to advanced search and rescue technology, firefighters depended on their hands and instincts. Talking about it, St. Thomas Fire Chief Dave Gregory stated that when they entered a burning building, they were often unaware of what was in front of them. He said, "We did search and rescue by just feeling the wall and hope for the best. We walked around, and we used our senses to do that."

Highlighting how the advanced device will help, Gregory said, "This device will give them a visual picture of what is in front of them." He is right, as the device, MSA LUNAR, is designed to enhance firefighter safety from the moment the crew steps out of the truck.

Rob McNeil, a supplier of the MSA LUNAR who gave a brief demonstration to the STFD Wednesday upon delivery of 10 units, said, "It has a thermal imaging camera also known as a TIC. It helps them locate different heat in the house, it will help find where the seed of the fire is itself and helps them locate other fellow firefighters as well."

A GPS will allow the command to track all other firefighters at all times. They can hence keep everyone accounted for on scene. The technology will help speed up rescue times and enhance safety for fire crews and the residents. The pack clips onto the firefighter's strap and comes with a retractable cord for ease of use.

Gregory said, "This gives us the ability to do quicker search and rescue, keep track of our firefighter's safety, and gives them an update on their air levels in their MSA packs. If we come into a fire and we have victims inside, this will give us quick access to see exactly where we need to go and any inherent dangers like holes and floors or collapses or extreme heat conditions."

The device also has an alarm system. If a firefighter stops moving for 30 seconds, the alarm will automatically activate. It would help locate a crew member who went down or fell through a floor.

Great Timing

The timing of this device adoption is nice. The demands on firefighters in the Railway City are growing as the population grows. There were 1,500 calls for service in St. Thomas, Ontario in the first five months of 2022 only.

Though many fire departments in the US are already using the advanced tech, St. Thomas is the first in Canada to get its hands on this tech. Appreciating the device, Gregory said, "This is a game-changer. We're trained better than anybody as far as I'm concerned, we have great equipment, and we have great support from our city. St. Thomas is growing, and we want to be the best."

Gregory added that the team would be trained on the new device next week.




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