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St Kitts Fire Service gets thermal imaging cameras

SHERRYLYN TOPPIN, [email protected]

St Kitts Fire Service gets thermal imaging cameras

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BASSETERRE – A donation of three thermal imaging cameras to the St. Kitts and Nevis Fire and Rescue Services (SKNFRS) has emergency officers excited about the opportunities to enhance their service to the public. 

“What this device does is pick up heat anywhere,” explained Fire Station Officer (FSO) Abdias Samuel on Thursday. “Once there is a heat [source] between the range of -40 degrees Fahrenheit to 626 degrees Farhenheit it will be able to pick up that type of temperature whether in the day or in the night.” 

That capability is especially important to the fire and rescue officials as it can indicate where hot spots are in fire fighting operations or locate a person lost in the mountains.  

“It will minimise us having to put officers in danger. It will minimise us having to search because the reach of this device is about 500 feet,” Samuel said. 

The fire station officer plays a lead role in search rescue and operations due to his 16 years of experience with the SKNFRS. Over the years, he has received extensive training in the field from the United States Agency for International Development (USAID), the Office of U.S. Foreign Disaster Assistance (OFDA), and the Caribbean Disaster Emergency Management Agency. Samuel now trains persons from across the Caribbean as the lead training coordinator for these agencies.

“The most difficult thing in any rescue operation is actually searching and locating the victim,” FSO Samuel stated. “Sometimes a search operation can last hours, days or it can just go on and on and you may never find this person. … This will eliminate having to take 20 [to] 50 people to search for one particular victim. You can actually do it with one or two persons.”

The thermal imaging cameras detect heat signatures in five separate settings. Once the victim’s location is pinpointed by the smaller search party, the appropriate manpower and resources will mobilise to carry out the rescue. The cameras were donated by Regiwell Francis, owner of St Kitts Marine Works Ltd.  

Samuel echoed the sentiments of Fire Chief, Everett O’Garro, in expressing gratitude for the donation and said that the equipment significantly improves the agency’s ability to save lives and protect property.