Bryant firefighters are now better equipped to meet the needs of residents thanks to three Bullard Eclipse thermal imaging cameras that were recently donated to the fire department by the Firehouse Subs Public Safety Foundation.
The devices, worth nearly $19,000, detect body heat and hot spots in burning buildings, allowing firefighters to reach victims in half the time and extinguish potentially deadly fires.
“When you can’t even see your hand in front of your face, these cameras guide us to the heat source and people who may be inside the structure,” Capt. Rusty Long said.
Because of budget constraints, the equipment would be unavailable without the support of the foundation.
“When they (firefighters) received these (cameras), it was like they had gotten a million-dollar raise,” Bryant Fire Chief Randy Cox said.
According to Eric Sorensen, Firehouse Subs Public Safety Foundation specialist, the foundation supports all first responders, including law enforcement and emergency medical services.
“We want to make sure they have the equipment they need,” Sorensen said.
Despite drastic funding cuts and more than 5,000 firefighters losing their jobs, the foundation has donated more than $3.5 million to public safety entities in 335 communities across the nation since 2005, with more than $125,000 of it going to Arkansas public safety entities.
“You never know when you or someone close to you will be personally impacted by the lifesaving capabilities of a first responder,” said Russell Crouse, franchisee of the Bryant Firehouse Subs location. “These heroes deserve the best tools, training and technology, and our foundation is here to help.”
According to Sorensen, the foundation earns money through its round-up program, where patrons can round up to the nearest dollar and donate the change from their purchases; spare change donation containers located on register counters; and selling their pickle buckets.
“Our pickles come shipped in five-gallon buckets. We began getting requests from customers for them, so now we sell them for $2 each. It’s a good price, and we aren’t disposing of the buckets,” Sorensen explained.”
The foundation also sells medallions, bearing the Maltese cross and Fire and Rescue insignia, each October, during fire safety month.
Firehouse Subs, founded in Jacksonville, Fla., by former firefighting brothers Chris and Robin Sorensen, reflect the authentic firefighter heritage, as well as the founding family’s 200 years of firefighting service.
For more information on Firehouse Subs, visit www.firehousesubs.com .