New technology to help Agawam firefighters save lives, escape burning buildings

Every on-duty firefighter will have one

AGAWAM, Mass. (WWLP) –  The Agawam Fire Department is using new technology to help them fight fires.

Imagine yourself being blindfolded in a room and having no idea where the doors or windows are and I told you to get out. How are you going to get out if you’re completely unable to see?

Agawam firefighters have a new tool– thermal imaging cameras– to help them safely escape a burning building and save lives. The cameras just came in Tuesday, and firefighters already got to test them out Wednesday morning at a house fire.

Agawam firefighters put out fire on Walnut Street

Here’s how it works. If a firefighter is in the kitchen of a burning house, all they have to do is point the thermal imaging at the place they want to go, and they’ll know if it’s too hot to proceed or not.

“Thermal energy cameras can be used to find a victim that’s trapped inside of a fire or down and unconscious inside of a fire,” Agawam Fire Chief Alan Sirois said. “It allows firefighters to see the infrared image of a fire that’s inside of a room so that they can spot the fire from a distance and it’ll also allow firefighters to visually inspect a room and be able to see exits in the event of an emergency and they need to exit.”

At $1,400 a piece, they’re much more affordable than just twenty years ago when they were $20,000 each. Every on-duty firefighter will get one.