ELSMERE, Ky. -- Firefighters save lives every day, and now a new thermal tool will help save their lives while putting out fires.
"It helps identify a window, a door, an exit path where normally when you're in a smoky environment, you lose your sight -- so one of your senses is gone," said Assistant Chief Robby Samuel of the Elsmere Fire District.
The I-TIC (thermal imaging camera) is a relatively rare device, but Elsmere is lucky to have one and another on the way.
"A lot of firefighters continue to be trapped -- disoriented -- get lost from their crew, so this gives them an additional tool besides all the other tools they have to help them get out of the building if something were to happen," Samuel said. "In the future, I would think most firefighters, every firefighter will have one of their own.
Two weeks ago, Samuel was able to test out the I-TIC for the first time on a call at a green-shuttered home in his district.
"It's going to see the same thing on a big fire or a small fire, so it was just an opportunity to use it under real-life circumstances, and it worked well," Samuel said.
Part of the appeal is that you don't need your hands to carry the I-TIC and it doesn't require separate batteries.
"To know it's on you, and I don't have to worry about choosing do I take a tool or do I take the hose? It's here. I don't have to make that choice now. My hands are free to do other things," Samuel said. "Fires are different than they used to be -- smoke is more toxic. You can get separated, get lost, get trapped.