By Jared Ritz
Havre's Fire Department needs a $20,000 piece of equipment, and it's hoping the community can help out.
Two fund-raising breakfasts will be held July 20 and 27 by Local 601 of the International Association of Firefighters for a thermal imaging machine.
The machine uses body heat to locate people in burning buildings, said Tim Ranes, assistant fire chief.
"All objects have a temperature and waves of thermal energy. The hotter the object, the more energy emitted. The machine translates this energy into a viewable image on the screen," he said.
"It enables us to look through the smoke in a building to find a victim."
The machine weighs about four pounds, enabling firefighters to bring it directly into fire situations.
"It is fairly new technology," Sean Peck, a Havre firefighter said. "But since there has been fire, there has been a need for something like this."
Children in particular could benefit from the equipment.
"In a structure fire, kids will hide. This will allow us to see them if they are hiding under the bed," Peck said.
It also could minimize damage done during a fire by finding any hidden fires, he said.
The machine is extremely sensitive and powerful, Ranes added.
"If someone were walking in a dark room, you could pick out their handprints and footprints on the walls and floor."
Peck is confident in the union's ability to eventually raise the money for the machine. The breakfasts are a start.
"The idea behind it is great, and the people will see that," he said. "We will keep trucking until we get the money. It doesn't stop with this."
Other options for fund raising being discussed are donations from businesses around the community and more fund-raising meals.
The breakfasts are slated from 8 a.m. to noon, and pancakes, eggs, sausage, juice and coffee will be served. It costs nothing to come, but donations are welcome.