The Los Angeles Fire Department has deployed 1,000 hand-held thermal imaging cameras that can help firefighters locate victims in smoke-filled rooms or find fire hidden inside walls, attics and crawl spaces.
The new devices are about the size of a smartphone and will be carried by all on-duty firefighters.
Previously, one large thermal imaging device costing upward of $10,000 apiece was carried on each fire apparatus.
The new devices manufactured by Seek Thermal Inc. of Santa Barbara cost $750 each. The acquisition was funded by donations from the non-profit Los Angeles Fire Department Foundation.
Fire Chief Ralph Terrazas says the devices are a game-changer for firefighters working in hazardous conditions.