Westchester eyes new thermal imaging cameras
Updated: September 4, 2012 6:13PM
WESTCHESTER — Fire Chief Jim Adams brought attention to his department’s need for a new thermal imaging camera, and received permission to buy two new cameras.
Thermal imaging cameras help firefighters find heat sources by showing light where there is infrared radiation, such as from body heat or the heat of a fire. If more light is visible, there is more heat and vice versa.
“Thermal imaging cameras are really important for locating hot spots and victims in smoke-filled environments that could otherwise be missed,” Adams said.
He said the existing one is 18 years old and has a broken battery holder, rendering it unreliable at a fire scene. The Fire Department has not been able to find a replacement part after three months of searching and has been borrowing Hillside’s 19-year-old one during that time. With the development of newer technology since the purchase of the old camera, the new camera could calibrate 15 to 35 seconds more quickly and would likely have a pinpoint feature, further enabling precision.
The Westchester Village Board showed support for the purchase Aug. 14. The cameras would likely have a total cost between $16,000 and $20,000, said Village President Sam Pulia.
The village has begun a project to beautify the northwest corner of the intersection of Cermak and Mannheim Roads. The Forest Preserve District of Cook County granted te permission July 24 to use its land for a fountain and gardens. The village will dedicate the fountain and gardens to police, fire, emergency medical services, Sept. 11 heroes and soldiers in a ceremony Sept. 8.
“We started constructing it last week; we had wanted to be doing it in April,” Pulia said after the meeting Aug. 14. “This will make it a more inviting corner.”
Pulia said the area would be complete with the addition of 1925 streetlights and plants from Westchester’s garden club.
The town, with the help of a few high school students working toward the Sheriff’s Youth Service Medal of Honor, has also painted guardrails on Gladstone Street red.
“We’re dressing up the town and making it more aesthetic,” Pulia said.
Receipt of the medal requires 100 service hours in one year.
Police Chief April Padalik said there were about 400 participants at National Night Out, an event designed to promote crime and drug prevention awareness and strengthen the relationship between citizens and law enforcement. The department has also acquired two new squad cars and a 2012 Ford Explorer through a grant.