RICHMOND, VA (WWBT) - Area firefighters spent the day on some specialized training. They were learning to operate a brand new piece of camera equipment that can be used in tight spaces or collapsed buildings.
Smoke and flames are something firefighters are used to dealing with. It is something they say is "routine" business. Having to rescue someone from a manhole or underneath rubble is less frequent. That's why this regional training is necessary.
"We've noticed that across the nation, confined space has probably been one of the higher hazards," said Captain Melody Spivey with the Richmond Fire Department. "We've had a lot of rescuers killed and of course a lot of civilians killed in these things, so with the training that we are doing, it's getting us ready in the event that one call should happen to show up."
The Richmond Fire Department has had a new camera for a couple of weeks and showed us how it works. It's designed to enter small openings, allowing rescuers to search for and communicate with victims through video and audio.
"It gives us lots of capability to see what we are going into probably before we have to commit a rescuer into that area," he said.
This technology is similar to what rescuers have been using in New Zealand to find earthquake victims and would have been helpful in the Chester building collapse that made our headlines a few years back. And, it can get wet.
"We can use it underwater, so in the event that we have a water rescue or some sort of recovery, we can use that camera and not necessarily commit someone to the water if it's not the location that we want to put them in," he said.
The Richmond Fire Department received this new equipment through a federal assistance to firefighters grant.