The Casper Mountain Fire Department has been given a thermal imaging camera that will help in fire prevention and rescue. Casper Mountain Fire Chief Mike Huber says larger fire districts generally have the thermal imaging capabilities, but the cameras are cost prohibitive for smaller fire departments.

Worth $13,500:

"Recently we received a donation from a foundation that's known as 500 for Life, and they're headquartered out of Atlanta, Georgia. They're a non-profit foundation down there that works in conjunction with National Fallen Firefighters Foundation, and what they donated to us is what's called a thermal imaging camera. This is basically a sophisticated type of camera that instead of seeing light, it sees heat."

Chief Huber said that the cameras can find fires hidden in architecture and they are also sensitive enough to detect body heat. This is vital because children will sometimes hide during a fire.

Sees heat sources:

"This allows firefighters to do a much quicker search for that because they can look into a room that might be completely filled with smoke to the point where you can't see anything in the room, but the thermal imaging camera will show you the image if there's a human being or a pet or something like that in there."

The organization that donated the camera, does exactly this, finds small, budget strapped fire departments and collects donations to purchase these cameras.

From 500 for Life:

"Www.500, that's 5-0-0 for Life, and you can look there and they're a very worthwhile charity, and they do operate on donations from people around the country, and that's what's enabled them to donate this item to the Casper Mountain Fire Department now."

Chief Huber said that they applied for the camera a few years ago, and more recently got a call to see if they were still in need. And not everyone knows that Casper Mountain has its own fire department.

Volunteer meeting:

"And it is a 100 percent volunteer department, and we are a separate district, separate from the county fire protection district. We work very closely with them and we do function on a 100 percent volunteer basis. And if anyone is interested in anything more about the Casper Mountain Fire Department, our first meeting in January will be the second Tuesday of January (10th) at 7 o'clock at Fire Station 14 up on Casper Mountain."