When an emergency strikes, having the right tools can mean a matter of life or death for members of the Dexter Area Fire Department.
On Wednesday, the department received a $10,000 donation from ITC Holdings Corp., a Novi-based electrical company, to purchase a brand new thermal imaging camera to add to its arsenal.
"We are extremely grateful for ITC's generous donation," DAFD chief Lauren Yates said. "A thermal imaging camera is an extraordinary piece of safety equipment and will help us further our efforts to protect our citizens and our personnel responding to their needs."
Lt. Michael Grissom said the camera protects both firefighters and homeowners by detecting heat signatures quicker, thus preventing significant structural damage during a fire. The camera displays different temperatures of heat onto a screen as an image.
"It's also a great tool to have if we're called to an accident at night and we have to locate the victim in an area with no lighting," he said.
Most recently, the department used its existing thermal camera to assist in the rescue of residents in the aftermath of the .
"Nearly 300 properties were destroyed or damaged, but thankfully, there were no casualties from the March tornado," Yates said. "The thermal imaging camera will assist fire crews to more quickly and efficiently find people in need of help, not only in the event of future tornadoes, but also other natural disasters."
Simon Whitelocke, vice president of regulatory and external affairs for ITC, said the company is happy to donate the new equipment to the DAFD.
"We take safety seriously at ITC and we rely on the fire and police departments when we have high voltage equipment that can be dangerous if people get near it," he said. "Having a safe environment is critical to our company, and the fire department works with us to help us out. I'm glad we were able to make this donation to the DAFD."
Jim Seta, president of the DAFD Board, said the donation is the second the department has received in recent months. The department was presented an $8,000 gator vehicle from Boullion Sales, , and Suburban Chevrolet.
"The gator will help us with off road rescue," Seta said. "Over the years we've acquired more areas where you can't get a regular rescue vehicle down dense areas a mile from the road."