By Max Bowenfirstname.lastname@example.org
The North Attleborough Fire Department will soon get new tools to help save lives and better protect them on the job.
Fire Chief Christopher Coleman announced that the department had received a FEMA 2019 Assistance to Firefighters Grant in the amount of $49,090. The department will need to match 10 percent of this, bringing the total to approximately $54,000. With this, they can purchase six new thermal imaging cameras, one for each of the front-line vehicles.
The thermal imagers—about the size of a digital camera—can be used for multiple purposes. With these, firefighters can locate a person trapped in a burning building. They can also locate fires inside a wall and avoid a lengthy search. This also limits damage caused by opening up different parts of a wall to search for fires.
The department has been using thermal imaging cameras for many years. However, Coleman said the current ones used in North Attleborough are around 10 years old and no longer in compliance. One of the improvements of the newer models is they can tell fire crews the exact temperature of a fire.
“An important part is knowing when to get out of the building when it gets too hot,” said Coleman.
The purpose of the Assistance to Firefighters Grant program is to protect the health and safety of the public and firefighting personnel against fire and fire related hazards.
The department has also received a $49,062 grant from the Executive Office of Public Safety and Security. This funding will be used to purchase PPE, disinfecting solutions, and cover the costs of continued cleanings. Coleman said a company called Red Line cleans the stations every month or two. Since the pandemic started, the department has had a good supply of PPE, and inventories of face masks and other items are conducted regularly.
“We’ve been on top of things,” he said.
Firefighters have been busier than usual, with 100 more calls than this time last year, said Coleman. Dispatchers have a set of questions for calls to determine if someone has COVID-19. A few months ago, calls were down as people were reluctant to go to the hospital.
“Call 911 to get to the hospital, don’t be afraid to go to the hospital,” said Coleman.