Bayonne firefighters all carry high-tech cameras
Bayonne is the first city in New Jersey to deploy thermal imaging cameras for every firefighter working a smoky, blazing building.
Fire Chief Keith Weaver says several major factors contributed to their decision to increase the use of these see-in-the-dark devices.
"We noticed a price drop and a technology change, and we saw an opportunity to improve the safety and the efficiency of our department," he said.
"The camera works by picking up the various heat signature differentials. Every object in the room, whether it be at ambient temperatures or under fire conditions, emits a different heat signature. And through colors on the screen, darker shades of black and white, we are able to essentially see through the smoke."
The cameras not only allow firefighters to see the room's layout, but also trapped victims or pets and objects in the smoky, darkened space.
Weaver says fire crews in Bayonne and other departments in the past have assigned one thermal camera to each fire truck.
"We believe that we are the first to outfit every position. Citywide, we are deploying 36 cameras," he said.
He says they hope that other New Jersey fire departments will also expand their use of the cameras to increase safety and efficiency at fire sites.
"We have already gotten some calls from other departments and shared the information on how we purchase the cameras. We believe that we are the first to outfit every position."