Washington D.C. – U.S. Senator Kirsten Gillibrand announced today $72,000 in federal funding for the City of Syracuse Fire Department to purchase thermal imaging cameras that will expedite search and rescue operations. The money was allocated through the Federal Emergency Management Administration’s (FEMA) Assistance to Firefighters Grant.
The cameras allow for greater visibility during a fire, enabling firefighters to locate victims faster. They can also be used to identify overheated electrical appliances and other sources of fire that might otherwise go unnoticed.
“Our first responders work tirelessly to keep our communities and families safe,” said Senator Gillibrand. “It’s our responsibility to make sure that they have the best and most up-to-date equipment. This cutting-edge technology will allow firefighters to conduct rescue operations more effectively and efficiently, and help save more lives.”
“The Fire Department is extremely grateful to Senator Gillibrand for her assistance in acquiring these much needed tools,” said Mark J. McLees, Chief of the Syracuse Fire Department. “In a fire, seconds can determine the survivability of lifeless victims. These thermal imaging cameras will undoubtedly improve the chances of survival for any unfortunate citizen who falls unconscious due to the poisonous products of combustion, including the smoke which hampers the search.”
The Syracuse Fire Department operates 12 stations throughout the city of Syracuse and Hancock International Airport. The department intends to train their firefighters to use the cameras at the department’s live fire training facility
The Assistance to Firefighters Grant Program, established by FEMA within the Department of Homeland Security, is part of an effort to increase the nation’s emergency response preparation. This program provides federal funding to first responder organizations for the acquisition of personal protective equipment, firefighting vehicles, and emergency response equipment. The funds also help provide emergency response trainings.