VFD equipped with new rapid search camera

Emma Wheeler | WCTV Eyewitness News
July 29, 2019

VALDOSTA, Ga. (WCTV) -- The Valdosta Fire Department is going behind the lens with a new rapid search camera, a new tool to help save lives.

The camera is called a First Look (FL) 360. Department officials said it's brand new technology is capable of saving crucial time during a rescue.

One crew member guides another using a tablet, communicating what the camera is seeing, with a full 360 degree view.

The department said the camera is especially useful in tight spaces, like in a building collapse or utility accident.

"We can use that camera to burrow through, make some holes, then set the camera inside to see if there's anyone trapped in that location, and then get a search team or a rescue team on top of that pile, dig in that certain area to rescue that individual," said Battalion Chief John Herpin. "We cut down the amount of time it would take to locate victims and then get them the help that they need."

The Valdosta Fire Department is part of Task Force 2 with Georgia Search and Rescue. That means crews can take this technology to assist in rescues all across the state.

"This is going to be absolutely huge for all of our surrounding communities, giving us another edge in being able to render aid," Herpin said.

The camera was purchased through a $7,500 donation from Cargill. The company said they aim to make a donation like this every year, hoping to fill a different need in the community.

VFD official said the new camera can also help to minimize the number of people needed in a potentially dangerous rescue.

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