A heat-seeking tool for a hot, dry prairie summer

Thermal imaging camera will help Saskatchewan firefighters save lives, conserve water

It’s been hot and dry this summer on the Canadian prairies.

And while grain farmers keep an anxious eye on the sky for rain clouds, Matt Rumohr keeps an ear to the ground.

“The past couple of years, it’s been quite a bit wetter heading into harvest time. Different story this year. We are so dry out here . . . and that could substantially boost the number of calls we’ll see,” says Rumohr, who recently took over as chief of the Luseland Fire Department.

In a dry summer, every drop of water counts—especially for this 16-person volunteer fire department in west-central Saskatchewan. And Luseland FD’s recent decision to invest in a thermal imaging camera could pay dividends in terms of water conservation, as well as overall safety.

Using infrared technology, these portable, lightweight cameras are invaluable at the scene of a fire—helping firefighters find victims, identify access and exit points, and determine hot spots.

“It’ll be incredibly helpful for structure fires. Once we knock the fire down, the camera can point out the hot spots,” says Rumohr. “That’ll be a huge factor in the consumption of water, as well as allowing us to avoid ripping out an entire wall, for example, looking for a source of heat.”

Enbridge is committed to improving quality of life in the communities near our operations and projects—including the Line 3 Replacement Program, now underway in parts of Saskatchewan and Alberta.

In 2016, we invested more than $740,000 in community-strengthening initiatives across Saskatchewan, and our recent $5,000 donation to the Luseland FD will pay for that thermal imaging camera, as well as updating some of the department’s bunker gear.

Luseland FD covers an area of about 650 square miles, looking after about 1,100 residents in the Rural Municipalities of Progress, Eye Hill and Heart’s Hill.

“There’s lots of training to keep on top of, to make sure all of our members are up to speed,” says Rumohr, who farms and has a grain-hauling business, in addition to his 12 years of service to Luseland FD. “It’s a lot of work, but it’s important work.”