New search camera gives Huntsville Fire & Rescue responders safe access to hazardous areas

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HUNTSVILLE, Ala. (WHNT) – It can save time, manpower, and lives. The newly acquired SearchCAM 3000 changes the way Huntsville Fire and Rescue can respond when searching small or hazardous areas for potential victims.

“Before we’d have to rely on us going up to the pile and yelling and hoping someone answered us back,” said one firefighter as he demonstrated how the SearchCAM works. “Right there I see something that could be a potential article of clothing, a shoe, a hand that could be protruding out of something.”

The search cam feeds live color video and sound as well as records video and captures still images. A two-way microphone allows rescue teams and victims to communicate, a comfort for victims.

“If you look at it from a victim standpoint, if I’m in a pile and I can’t get out, if I have someone there I can talk to and hear it’s going to reassure me that they are there and going to get me out,” said Captain Frank McKenzie.

The first responders hope the device will allow them to rescue more victims faster, without the heavy and time consuming work of removing rubble. It will also keep them from having to enter unstable structures and hazardous areas before knowing if anyone is inside.

The camera cannot withstand high heats from a fire, but it can be used in water. It cost the city about $14,000.

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