Pendleton Firefighters hope new infrared cameras can help save l - NBC Right Now/KNDO/KNDU Tri-Cities, Yakima, WA |

Pendleton Firefighters hope new infrared cameras can help save lives and catch criminals

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PENDLETON, OR. -- The Pendelton Fire Department got a much needed equipment update that could help save lives.

Pendleton firefighters will be now able to see in the dark, well sort of. Two new infrared cameras will allow firefighters to spot fires, hots spots or victims who need help. 

"The temperature range over here on the right goes up to twelve hundred degrees," Firefighter Pete Nichols said. "That's useful before entering a residence that's on fire we want to make sure that the temperatures are something we're going to be able to handle."

The side by side comparison between their old infrared camera and their new one is like night and day, no pun intended. Pete says these cameras are huge to helping saving firefighters when fighting fires. 

"Thermal imaging cameras are proven to save firefighters lives," Nichols said. "They're able to see things that we can't."

Here's a perfect example of seeing what our eyes can't. Hold a hand on anything for a minute or two and the camera will pick up the heat left behind. But what firefighters need it for is much more important. 

"We see that the door for example is up in the 900 degree range, that means that there's probably fire impingement right on the other side of that door," Nichols told us.

It cost $12,000 for 2 infrared cameras who won't just be used by the fire department. Police officers can use them to help find criminals hiding from the law. The cameras also take pictures and video when necessary to help firefighters review how they attack a fire.