Following an extremely successful Protective Services Gala on October 21st, the Martensville Fire Department utilized the funds raised to purchase equipment that would otherwise be outside of the regular budget. The event brought in approximately $13,000, which went towards the purchase of ten individual thermal imaging cameras (TIC) that attach to the firefighter’s self-contained breathing apparatus (SCBA). “With these cameras, it gives us the ability to see through smoke basically. They can see if there is a body, where an exit is located, or if there is a fire in the wall or ceiling,” MFD Fire Chief Kurtis Dyck explained. The units provide better overall safety for the firefighters, as well as more time efficiency when it comes to locating hot spots and recovering victims. “They will help to be able to locate a victim more efficiently in zero visibility situations, whereas before the other way was to feel around until you find them,” Dyck added.
Martensville firefighter James Taylor, who was a member of the Protective Services Gala organizing committee, is happy that the fire department unanimously decided to purchase the TICs. “The practicality of them will make a huge difference. When you have your pack on, holding your tool, crawling on your hands and knees in a fire, it can be difficult. This will eliminate one tool from our hands by having it available on our belts,” Taylor said. The TICs will be located in all of the front line trucks that appear first on scene. At this time, the new equipment has not been utilized on scene, although, all members of the MFD have received basic operation training with the new equipment. “The numerous benefits that these cameras will provide are going to make a huge difference. There are times that you can get stuck, or lost or disoriented and they will help to point us in the right direction. It can sometimes feel like you are in a maze with your eyes closed and saving that time is definitely going to help save lives,” said Taylor.
The TICs will also help to locate heat signatures of fires located within walls of a structure, which will help to minimize damage. “Instead of ripping out a wall to find the heat source, we can identify, isolate and then cut a hole in the wall to take care of it,” explained Taylor.
The idea for the thermal units was suggested to the department by Dyck, who thought they would be a useful addition. “We had an idea of it, and there was a promotion running on them that was a limited time offer to get as many as we did for the price we did. It was a great opportunity and the timing was perfect. It was one of those things that was just meant to be,” said Dyck.
The successful event was well regarded by all that attended, and members of the MFD were not only happy with the money raised for equipment, but also that they were able to give back to a local organization. The 574 “Dakota” Royal Canadian Air Cadet Squadron contributed their services during the gala and as a thank you, the MFD donated $500 to the organization.
When asked if another gala was in the works, Dyck commented that at this time, it was undetermined. Currently, they are focusing on an upcoming event that will take place June 2nd and 3rd in Martensville. The Firefit Championships will be coming to the community for Buster Days weekend. “They call it the toughest two minutes in any competitions. We are really looking forward to the event and it is going to bring a lot of people to the community,” Dyck said. This will be the first time in numerous years that the event will take place within the province. The MFD will be looking for volunteers to help with the event as it nears closer, so watch for more information in the New Year.