High-tech cameras for RFS brigades


Three high-tech thermal imaging cameras purchased by Masonicare were donated to the Rural Fire Service (RFS) Blue Mountains District last week, boosting their capability to monitor bushfire activity and carry out search and rescue work.

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The cameras were handed over at Valley Heights RFS brigade at a special presentation attended by Masonicare representatives, Minister for Emergency Services Stuart Ayres, Blue Mountains MP Roza Sage and RFS Blue Mountains district manager David Jones.

Grand Master of Freemasons NSW/ACT Derek Robson, NSW RFS Superintendent David Jones, Valley Heights RFS brigade captain Steve Price, Minister for Emergency Services Stuart Ayres, Blue Mountains MP Roza Sage and Masonicare chairman Andrew Fraser MP last Friday.

Masonicare decided to donate 15 thermal imaging cameras last year to brigades in the Blue Mountains, Port Stephens, Southern Highlands, Hawkesbury and Lake Macquarie.

Valley Heights RFS captain Steve Price said the donation was "absolutely outstanding".

"We've had tremendous support locally, from across Australia and even from overseas since the October bushfires and received so many donations - and this is just one more," he said.

Mr Price said the thermal imaging cameras will be put to good use.

"They can be used to see through thick smoke at active fires and they can also be used to identify the perimeters of bushfires and check for spot fires, which we've relied on helicopter crews to do in the past."

Mr Price said his brigade has been boosted by 25 people applying to become active members since October and a new tanker truck provided in February.

"Our membership at Valley Heights is now roughly 60-strong and our 13 newest members passed their firefighter training courses last week," he said.