Firefighters in Islamorada pride themselves on offering a high level of service to the community. But due to a limited budget, they sometimes struggle to purchase critical equipment.
Fireman’s Fund donated $9,800 to Islamorada Fire Rescue to purchase an increasingly popular and effective tool—a thermal imaging camera. The new thermal imager will provide Islamorada Fire with enough cameras to have one of the latest generation units at all three of their fire stations.
A thermal imager is a device that uses updated technology to enable firefighters to “see” through smoke and darkness to quickly locate anyone trapped in a building during a fire. The camera can also play a major role in reducing property damage. With a thermal imaging camera in hand, firefighters can often locate hot spots inside walls and extinguish them before they spread. It also allows rescuers to better scout collapsed floors and other dangerous obstructions that could result in serious injury or death.
In fact, the Islamorada Fire Chief credited the use of a thermal imager, purchased with a previous Fireman’s Fund grant, in saving the lives of two Islamorada firefighters.
“Our firefighters responded to a large fire in a residential building, and were using their new thermal imager when they saw a section of the floor they were approaching had fallen through,” said Fire Chief William Wagner. “If they didn’t have the camera, they wouldn’t have spotted the missing floor in the smoke, and they likely would have fallen through the hole into the blazing fire below.”
The grant package is part of a nationwide philanthropic program funded by Fireman’s Fund Insurance Company. The program is designed to provide needed equipment, training and educational tools to local fire departments. Since 2004, Fireman’s Fund has issued grants to over 1,500 different departments totaling more than $26 million.
As part of this initiative, every employee is able to nominate a fire department for a grant. Jody Martin, a Florida-based employee, nominated Islamorada Fire Rescue for this grant.
“Firefighters put their lives on the line every day to keep our community safe,” said Martin. “It feels great to help in such a tangible way knowing thermal imagers truly do make a difference.”
Photo Above: (L-R) Joe Roth of Regan Insurance, Assistant Fire Chief Terry Abel and Jody Martin of Fireman’s Fund Insurance Company.