The Athens Fire Department will soon have a new tool to help keep firefighters safe. This week, the Athens City Council approved the purchase of 10 new thermal imaging cameras.
Athens Fire Chief Bryan Thornton told WAAY 31 the cameras cost around $600 each and will allow fire fighters to see through smoke, darkness and walls.
"Anytime they go out into a fire situation, then they should have their own personal cameras. I think that's a great thing for anyone they're trying to service. Whether it's a fire situation or a collapsed building," said Julie Martin.
Julie Martin understands why it's important for first responders to be safe. She works in the security office at Athens State University.
"If they don't stay safe, then they can't rescue or save anyone else," Martin said.
She's glad that the Athens Fire Department is purchasing 10 new thermal imaging cameras also known as a 'tick'. The cameras will help firefighters to be able to see objects or people through heavy smoke.
"It also will give you the temperature inside of the structure. If you're getting closer to dangerous temperatures, you can look and find out your temp," said Chief Bryan Thornton.
Right now, the department only has the large thermal camera that costs over $6,000. Only one fire fighter at a time can use the camera. The new cameras are less expensive and are the size of a cell phone.
"It gives you the ability to not only do search and rescue, but find your other crew members or find a safe way out," Thornton said.
"It's just part of their uniform, so they'll just service the people that need it the most," Martin said
Chief Thornton said they will place the order for the cameras soon and will start using them after everyone has completed training.