PHOTOS: Birmingham Fire Chief Paul Wells has been boasting that most of the department’s firefighters have some of the latest and greatest thermal imaging cameras built into their masks.
He signed up for the city’s firefighting duties about 25 years ago and was introduced to thermal-imaging cameras soon after.
He remembers the equipment being much larger and more cumbersome. And it added to the approximately 60 pounds each firefighter hefted because of their gear, boots and helmet and, once they started sweating and dousing the flames, up to 20 additional pounds of water.
With thermal-imaging cameras attached directly to masks, the firefighter's load is lighter and they more easily can detect victims and trouble spots.
A lens on the side of the masks picks up the wearer's surroundings.