Salem Fire Department gets $24K grant

March 11, 2010

SALEM - The Fire Department has been awarded a $24,300 Assistance to Firefighters grant, U.S. Sen. Jeanne Shaheen announced yesterday.

The grant is administered by the Department of Homeland Security. Fire Chief Kevin Breen said the department will use the money to purchase thermal imaging cameras.

The cameras are used primarily for search and rescue, finding people in smoke-filled rooms. They also can be used to find fires in walls and ceilings, or determine where in a smoky building a fire is burning before firefighters enter.

The cameras also are used to find missing people in wooded areas, Breen said, including criminals.

The department's cameras date back to 2000, Breen said.

"With units that are now 10 years old, it's been, 'problematic' is not an inappropriate word," he said.

He said the department had been repairing and upgrading the technology through its own budget.

"We submitted the federal grant (application) thinking, 'You know what? This a great opportunity to ask the federal government for help,'" Breen said.

By:  Jillian Jorgensen
Source: Lawrence Eagle Tribune