- Associated Press - Wednesday, December 2, 2015

CEDAR FALLS, Iowa (AP) - The Cedar Falls fire department has purchased small cameras that can be attached to helmets, and plans to start using them next year.

The Waterloo-Cedar Falls Courier (https://bit.ly/1lXhGvy ) reports Cedar Falls Fire Chief John Schilling plans to put the high-definition video cameras to use in January after developing written policies on their use to respect patient privacy in the event of injuries.

The department currently has three cameras, and will rotate them from person to person and shift to shift. Each camera cost less than $300 each, which was covered by the fire department’s equipment budget.

Schilling says the cameras will primarily be used for fire scenes, post-incident analysis, fire investigation purposes and training. Schilling says the cameras are for internal use only. The fire chief says the cameras may be used for public information and fire prevention purposes if there is a rash of holiday fires.

“There’s not going to be posting on social media, anything like that,” he said.

He says he envisions the incident commander having a camera, which will provide a full view of the fire scene.

The cameras, which pick up sound and are fire-resistant up to 900 degrees Fahrenheit for limited periods, may also reveal evidence in arson investigations.

“The vast majority of time if a person starts a fire, they come back to see what they did,” Schilling said.

According to the fire chief, the only drawback is that the cameras cannot penetrate smoke like thermal imaging, but they may be able to reveal the base or main body of a fire from the light that the fire gives off.


Information from: Waterloo-Cedar Falls Courier, https://www.wcfcourier.com

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