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Thermal camera assists firefight
Strathmerton Fire Brigade Captain Evan Bourchier was finishing the morning milking when he got the page to a fire at a local factory.
Workers had arrived to find the plant full of smoke and the main heater “going up rather well,” according to the Strathmerton Captain.
Initial assessments suggest that the plant’s main heater may have malfunctioned during the heat up cycle and caught on fire.
Fortunately for the plant, the workers acted decisively and used the hose reel supply to attack and largely suppress the fire by the time the brigades arrived.
“We don’t have breathing apparatus on the tanker and we had to wait until the Cobram pumper arrived with BA,” said Evan. “Once we got inside, we needed to ventilate the building and assess the scene”
Assisting in this was Cobram’s thermal imaging camera, a piece of gear Captain Adrian Hilder calls “nearly the most valuable piece of equipment on the truck.”
“Instead of guessing at the temperature, we gave the machinery a scan with thermal imaging. We knew that the highest temperature on the machinery was only 142 degrees. We could quickly know that the fire was all gone.”
Adrian is an unabashed fan of the cameras – which in this case belongs to CFA’s Moira Catchment and is housed at the Cobram brigade – and what they can do for brigades and communities alike.
“We take the thermal imaging camera on every structural call. If they didn’t cost $15,000 each, they should be on every truck in Australia.”