Firefighting is getting a technological upgrade in Depew.
The department has acquired six new thermal imaging camera masks. Firefighters use a thermal imaging camera at almost every single fire to detect hotspots and where they should focus their efforts. These cameras are generally handheld. In these new "Scott Sight" masks, the camera is mounted to the side of a firefighter's face mask. The camera viewer is inside the mask.
This means firefighters now have one less piece of equipment to carry and they have hands free for more equipment, like hoses or to rescue victims.
These masks are going into rotation as soon as firefighters are able to train with them, as soon as the end of this summer.
"With new items comes different kinds of training, so there will be additional steps that we have to take in order to prepare to put this stuff into service. With our old masks all you'd have to do is put them on and you'd be good to go. Now theres two more steps," says Assistant Chief Aleks Wojciechowicz.
This training will make firefighters more efficient and streamlined, meaning they're safer and more well-equipped for when you need them most.
This equipment comes at a crucial time for the department when volunteers are waning. Depew, as well as other volunteer fire companies across Western New York are hurting for volunteer staff. With this mask, firefighters are able to do more with less manpower.