Tech SA: Seguin FD invests in pocket-sized life-saving technology

Thermal devices allow firefighters to see images in burning buildings

SEGUIN, Texas – The Seguin Fire Department has bought some pocket-sized thermal devices that will help them see better while battling structure fires.

SFD Lt. Kade Zunker said searching inside a room filled with thick, black smoke and flames is difficult for firefighters.

"So typically, in a heavy smoke environment, you can probably put your hand in front of your face and not be able to see your hand. So, it is extremely dark in blacked-out conditions," he said.

Zunker said dangerous firefighting conditions are the reason the fire department invested in the pocket-sized thermal devices.

"This device allows us to see just like it was in daylight. We were able to see heat signatures and different layouts of the room. And most importantly, it allows us to see victims that are laid out on the floor, where we otherwise wouldn't be able to see them," Zunker said.

The fire department already has a thermal-imaging camera, but it's bulky and cost $7,500. The pocket-sized thermal devices cost $750.

"Right now, we have six. That allows our tail border, which is the gentleman that rides in the backseat of the fire engine. And our senior guy on the ambulance is allowed to have one," Zunker said.

The goal is for each firefighter to have a pocket-sized thermal device, Zunker said.

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