By Danny Henley
Hannibal Courier-Post reporter
Posted Jul. 5, 2016 at 7:30 PM
Firefighters across the region, including in Marion County, have a new piece of technology at their disposal thanks to one of their own – Shane Jaeger. After winning a thermal imaging camera earlier this year, Jaeger successfully bartered with the manufacturer of the device, the E.D. Bullard Co., to instead receive two of the devices for use both in the region and at a fire department in the county.
In April, while attending the Fire Department Instructors Conference in Indianapolis, Jaeger entered a contest sponsored by Bullard.
“Bullard put on a promotion for people to come in and share their stories about Bullard products. Shane gave a presentation which essentially was a video essay and was declared the winner of one of the awards which was a thermal imaging camera,” said Mark Stephan, regional sales manager for Bullard.
While thankful to have won one of the devices, Jaeger recognized the need for more.
“The contest itself was for one camera. I told them what I was wanting to do and asked them for help. They came back and said I had won the top-of-the-line camera. I said we don’t really need that top-of-the-line (device), but we can use a lesser one that we could really use day to day. They gave us two of their economy-line units for training, which is just a great thing,” he said.
One of the imagers will be going to the Marion County R-2 Fire Department, where Jaeger serves as deputy chief.
“This is their first thermal imaging camera that they’ve ever had, so it’s a great thing for that community,” said Jaeger. “Each one of these cameras is $5,000. At Marion County R-2 Fire, we operate on a budget of anywhere from $10,000 to $20,000, so we just could not afford that camera.”
Imager No. 2 has been designated for training in Region B, which covers 16 counties and includes 100 fire departments.
“If a (Region B) department doesn’t have a camera and they need it for training we’ll get that camera to them, or when we do regional training that camera will be available,” said Jaeger.
Brian Reed of Sentinel Emergency Solutions, which sells Bullard products, says Jaeger earned quality equipment.
“They (Bullard) have got one of the best imaging cameras that you can see,” he said. “It’s also a good tool when you’re blacked out and can’t see because of smoke, it allows you to actually see through the smoke.
“You can not only use them for internal firefighting, but you can also use them for search and rescue if someone walked away from a motor-vehicle accident, or has been tossed away from a rollover vehicle. You can search the woods and be able to locate victims that way as well.”
They are definitely a tool,” added Stephan.
Stephan says Bullard is happy to be able to put the imagers in the hands of area firefighters.
“We recognize Marion County R-2 does not have a camera at this time. There are multiple volunteer departments in this country that still do not have thermal imaging technology and for us to be able to give them this technology is rewarding, not only for the E.D. Bullard Co., but for people like Shane that protect this area,” he said.
Reach reporter Danny Henley at firstname.lastname@example.org