The Otego Volunteer Fire Department respectfully
requests financial aid from the 2004 Assistance to
Firefighters Grant Program under the Fire Operations and
Firefighter Safety Program for the purchase of a thermal
Our goal is to provide the best possible and safest
working conditions for our volunteer firefighters. We feel
with our existing equipment and training the addition of a
thermal imaging camera will allow us to perform more
efficient fire fighting in hazardous environments including
but not limited to hazardous materials incident, fires, and
fire related activities.
The addition of a thermal imaging camera will be
available to not only our firefighters, but to other
firefighters in neighboring departments under our mutual
The cost of a TIC is beyond our financial reach at this
time without creating an excessive hardship on our
Solution With Budget
The approximate cost of a Thermal Imaging Camera at
this time including a spare battery, truck-charging unit,
mounting hardware, handle, and carrying strap is $13,500.
The Fire Department members voted to meet their
10% obligation of the grant. The $1,350 would come from
dues, annual barbecue, sales of reflective address signs,
donations from the Fire Department Ladies Auxiliary and
voluntary donations from private citizens.
Benefit to the Fire Department and the Community
A thermal imaging camera will benefit members of the
fire department, members of our community and
neighboring communities. The Otego Fire District consists
of an area of 45.4 square miles with a population of 3,183.
Three departments who do not have thermal imaging
camera capability bound the district. The area of the three
departments consists of approximately 102 square miles
and a population of 6430. The Otego Fire Department is
located so that they respond via mutual aid to these
departments and could provide a TIC if needed.
The Otego Fire Department response area includes
three facilities housing mentally disabled and physically
challenged individuals totaling 45 beds. There are two
preschool day care centers. There is also an elementary
school with 242 students and a high school with 630
students. In case of fire or evacuation a thermal imaging
camera will enable fire fighters to locate individuals within
the building and enhance their survivability. A TIC will
also aid in wild land search for missing persons who have
become lost either day or night.
A thermal imaging camera will allow firefighters to
locate the source of fire in a structure for quicker
knockdown. This will enable quicker extinguishments,
therefore reducing the time our firefighters will be in a
hostile environment. During over haul a TIC can locate
and monitor hot areas determining if opening walls and
ceilings is necessary. This can eliminate excessive water
and structural damage. This can benefit the owner in lower
restoration dollars. A final walk through with a TIC can
detect remaining hot spots for investigation. This can
prevent potentially dangerous and costly rekindles.
Improved protective clothing makes determining
ambient temperatures and the possibility of flashover very
difficult. On arrival potential back drafts can be identified
with a thermal imaging camera safely from the exterior of
the building. Interior firefighters can use a TIC, which
displays the temperature so that a crew operating inside of a
structure will be able to monitor the effectiveness of the
attack. This can diminish the possibility of being caught in
a life threatening flashover.
A department and the community need to have the
best available tools to provide a safer environment for all.
Why This Project Cannot be Funded Locally
Local funding is not available at this time for our
department to purchase a thermal imaging camera. A new
engine was purchased in 2003. This engine replaced an
unreliable 25-year-old engine with many safety concerns.
Only local funding is being used in paying off the existing
loan for the replacement engine.
The Otego Volunteer Fire Department Elderkin
Emergency Ambulance Squad answered 385 calls in 2003.
It has designated April 2004, as their annual equipment
Fund Drive Month. The Emergency Squad needs funds to
update their ambulance diagnostic and treatment
equipment. The squad annual fund drive is usually well
supported by donations from the community. The fire
Department feels it would be inappropriate for them to
have a separate fund drive during 2004.
The tax rate for the Otego Fire District has increased
23.59% over the past 3 years. School taxes increased 8.4%
just for the year 2003. We are a bedroom community with
many older people living on Social Security and fixed
incomes. According to the 2000 census the median income
per household in Otego is 25% less than the national
income. Per capita income is 29.2% less and the median
family income is 27.6% less than the national income. In
conclusion we feel that additional taxation or fund raising
would cause a hardship on too many people in our
Additional Relevant Information
The following relevant information should be
considered pertaining to our request for funding for a
thermal imaging camera. Our firefighters tend to be more
inexperienced because of a high turnover and fewer fires.
A thermal imaging camera will give them a safety
advantage to see through smoke, detect fire sources and
possible structural collapse.
The Canadian Pacific Railroad mainline from New
England Ports to Canada bisects our response area.
Interstate 88 from Albany to Binghamton parallels the
railroad. Quantities of hazardous materials ranging from
UPS packages to 18 wheel trucks and railcars carrying
containers and tanks regularly use these routes. A thermal
imaging camera can determine liquid levels in containers,
temperature and source of spills, and vapor releases. A TIC
can also aid in the identification of the product involved all
from a safe distance.
There are also two transmission pipelines crossing the
fire district. One carries natural gas and the other liquid
Many of the structures in our area are of older balloon
frame or post and beam construction. Many structures have
been converted from single family to multi family
dwellings. Large dairy barns have been converted to
commercial use. Conversions tend to create many voids
and concealed spaces that hide fire that can be located with
a thermal imaging camera.
Thermal imaging cameras have proven to be valuable
in searching for missing persons. Our department
experienced looking for a lost mentally disabled person in
high vegetation. A TIC might have prevented the said
person from spending the entire night outdoors in cold
We feel a thermal imaging camera would be a very
beneficial piece of equipment to obtain. It would definitely
provide safer conditions for members of our department
and the community.