Fenton Fire Protection District is deploying hand-held thermal imaging devices

FENTON, MO – Sure, it looks like a simple little handheld device.  But it`s making a big difference for firefighters.

'There is no risk of a firefighter losing it or dropping it in a fire or having it get tangled up in wiring or anything along those lines,' says James Rausch, Captain Fenton Fire Protection District.

It`s the frontlines, firefighters say, in a burning building that a device like this could be a game changer and a lifesaver.

'The iTic is the name we`re using which stands for Integrated Thermal Imaging Camera,' says Steve Earle, First Responder Sales Manager MSA Mine Safety Appliances.

Fenton Fire Protection District is no stranger to using technology to fight fires.

Just 15 years ago this clunky thermal imaging device was once worn by firefighters, usually resulting in sore necks and shoulders.

“This was a thermal imager used quite a few years ago, but it actually allowed to see images in smoke and fire,” says Romona Kaminski, Assistant Chief Fenton Fire Protection District.  “But now you`ve seen that hand-held device you almost think.  That`s unbelievable we`ve come that far with technology.”

Currently the Fenton Fire Protection District has handheld thermal imaging devices for each captain at a scene.

The new iTic`s cost, $800 and they're hoping to secure more funding so every firefighter has one of these iTics on their pack.

“The portability and what I like about it from a budget standpoint is we can buy ten or twelve of those for what a hand-held device would cost,” says Tom Steitz, Chief Fenton Fire Protection District.

And while I`d like to tell you more about the story, unfortunately our interview was cut short when a call came in.

Both an ambulance and a hook and ladder truck took off with sirens blazing, the new hand-held device had to be put to use.