By MARK J. MILLER
TORONTO - The city volunteer firefighter force recently was approved for a $10,000 grant from the state fire marshal's office to purchase a thermal imager and other equipment.
NEW EQUIPMENT — Toronto fire Chief Frank McEwen holds a breathing apparatus similar to the one procured by volunteer firefighters recently through a state fire marshal’s grant. The $10,000 grant also will go toward purchase of a new thermal imager for the volunteer program. -- Mark J. Miller
The grant is something volunteers try to acquire annually, according to city fire Chief Frank McEwen.
"(The volunteers) apply for the grant on a annual basis," said McEwen. "The paperwork (for the grant) was filed by volunteer and grant writer Lance Winstel."
The thermal device is a new Eclipse imager that detects heat and hot spots, according to the chief. The imager costs a little more than $5,000, which left another $5,000 to purchase face pieces for self-contained breathing apparatus, continued McEwen.
"The (new breathing devices) have an indicator that tells a firefighter how much air they have left," he said. "They also have a 'Clear Command' voice amplification system, which will make it easier for firefighters to talk to each other."
The thermal imager will have several uses to save lives and property, according to the chief.
"The imager can detect 'hot spots' if someone smells smoke or an electrical burning smell," said the chief. "The imager can detect heat in the walls or around electrical outlets. It also has a numeric temperature reading."
The imager also can be used after a fire has been extinguished to make sure there are no glowing embers to restart a fire, according to McEwen. It can pinpoint, rather than guess, where a fire might be behind a wall.
"In the old days we had to pry open a wall to see if there was a fire," he said. "We don't have to do that any more. The imagers also are great for search and rescue. We can use them to spot individuals in hard-to-see areas."
The face pieces for self-contained breathing apparatus will be custom fitted to five volunteer firefighters. Each of the devices costs $940, according to McEwen, who added, "the equipment gets more expensive every year."
The chief said volunteers also secured a $1,000 grant for brush firefighting equipment from the Ohio Division of Forestry.
(Miller can be contacted at firstname.lastname@example.org.)