Brookfield Township Fire Department has been awarded two grants for equipment purchases. The department plans to buy enough thermal imaging cameras so that each member of the department will have one, and a utility vehicle and trailer for fighting brush fires and other wildland fires, said Fire Chief David Masirovits.
The Ohio Department of Natural Resources’ Volunteer Fire Assistance Grant Program, which is administered by the Division of Forestry, awards up to $10,000 for grants for wildland fire equipment and other rural fire issues, according to the ODNR website.
Brookfield was awarded $10,000, and must match it dollar for dollar, Masirovits said. The department had socked away $20,000 from the sale of an ambulance toward this match, he said.
This grant will help the department fill an equipment void, the chief told the trustees Feb. 7.
“When I first started, we didn’t have any wildfire equipment,” Masirovits said. “Hartford had a little bit and we tried to incorporate a little bit of that, but it was just so old.”
Last year, the department bought some wildland firefighting tools, but “We relied on a lot of mutual aid,” Masirovits said. “We actually put Burghill-Vernon (Volunteer Fire Department) on all of our alarms for brush fires because they have a UTV. We’ll have a similar setup to theirs, like others in the county, too.”
The two-seat UTV will have a water tank, fire pump, hose, and area to place a patient, and the trailer will have water backpacks, brooms, rakes and related equipment, he said. A pickup truck will tow the apparatus to a wildland fire scene.
Masirovits said he expects to spend $25,000 to buy the UTV, trailer and equipment.
Brookfield is eligible for the grant because Trumbull County is in an Ohio Wildfire Protection Area, ODNR said.
The second grant comes from the Firehouse Subs Public Safety Foundation, which is associated with the sandwich restaurant chain. The closest restaurant is in Boardman.
The department will get $11,230 to buy 12 thermal imaging cameras, three banks of charging stations and turnout gear attachment devices, Masirovits said. There is no local match with the grant.
“That will allow everyone on duty and beyond to have their own personal thermal imaging camera while fighting a house fire,” the chief said.
TICs “see” heat signatures that are “different than the ambient air,” Masirovits said.
“You’ll see the outline of a person, and it allows us to search a smokey or heated atmosphere very quickly to search for anyone that’s trapped inside the fire,” he said. “In addition to that, it allows us to find hidden fire or not find hidden fire in walls. Traditionally, we may have had to smash open the wall or break open a partition or something like that just to check for fire, where we can use these cameras to actually identify something inside that wall before we have to go needlessly destroying property.”
The department currently has three large TICs, and in 2020 if bought four small TICs, one assigned to each officer, Masirovits said.
“We use them on pretty much every fire call,” he said. “We felt that that was something that we needed to enhance on our equipment cache.”
UPDATE: The TICS have been bought and distributed to department personnel.