By Madelyn Scroggie
The Mason Times
Mason, Mich. – Two thermal imaging cameras that can detect heat energy through
smoke, walls or doors were donated to The Mason Fire Department by Dart Container Corporation on March 9 and have already begun to help firefighters on the job.
Fire Chief Kerry Minshall said in an interview that the department has already put the cameras to good use.
“So far we have only had them a couple weeks,” said Minshall, “but we had a structure fire the other morning, a week ago today, and were able to use them.”
The fire took place in the attic of a home in Mason. Within a few minutes, the firefighters could tell exactly where there was a wire burned off which was causing the fire.
“They could see the hot spot,” said Minshall, “so they knew where to cut a hole in the ceiling to get at the fire for instance.”
The small handheld devices clip to the firefighters’ uniforms so they can take them in on the job with them.
“They are a great tool for the firefighters to just carry inside a building with them,” said Minshall.
The new handheld cameras can detect heat energy through smoke, walls or doors to help firefighters locate hot spots and trapped victims. However, this device is not only used for search and rescue, although that’s one of it many great features.
“They are really good for identifying if there is a wiring issue, which we used it for the other day,” said Minshall. “You could also use them past dark if somebody has wandered off, they can see gas leaks, or sometimes we get called for the smell of smoke in a building or something and it can detect that type of issue.”
In the interview, Minshall said that this equipment was something that had planned to purchase as a part of his improvement plan, but thanks to Dart this plan came into action much sooner than expected.
“It’s a great tool and Dart’s been a great partner and a real benefit to the community. This just solidifies and helps carry on that tradition. They have been a long time business in Mason and this was just a great good-will effort on their part,” said Minshall.
Dart has four employees who serve as volunteer City of Mason firefighters, including IT Facilities Infrastructure Engineer Tim Scott, who brought the idea of the donation to the attention of Dart leaders.
“Dart Container was pleased to provide 4 thermal imaging cameras to the Mason and Delhi Township fire departments,” said Dart Corporate Communications Manager Margo Burrage in an interview. “Our expansion on the Mason campus presents new and additional challenges to fire prevention and protection efforts, and the cameras help both the community at large and also Dart employees if we ever had a serious fire.”
Both Delhi and Mason provide fire protection and response services to Dart Container facilities in Ingham County.
“Delhi is the primary responder for Dart’s Holt Ink Plant, and Mason is the primary responder for our Mason campus,” said Burrage. “As resources from each fire department complement one another, both departments will respond to meet Dart’s needs during an emergency.“
The Dart family founded their first business in 1937.
“Dart Container has remained committed to mid-Michigan since its founding,” said Dart President Jim Lammers, “and we are pleased to support our local emergency responders and provide them with the tools they need to make our community as safe as possible.