Nov 7, 2012 9:13 PM by Connie Tran, KSBY News

Lompoc Fire Department introduces new, creative learning tool

The number one goal for all emergency responding agencies is safety. The Lompoc Fire Department said it's always trying to stay on top of safeguarding the community and its crews, in the most efficient way. They've introduced a new tool to help them improve operations.

When the Lompoc Fire captains get called to a scene, they prep, and they turn their helmet cameras on.

Brad Damschroder, a volunteer with the Lompoc Firefighters Foundation said, "They're specifically made for going on firefighter helmets. They're rated up to 900-degrees Fahrenheit, they're waterproof... it shoots in 170-degree field view, and it shoots in 1080 also, HD."

Damschroder said he loves being a resident of Lompoc, and his way of giving back to the city he loves, was to introduce helmet and truck dash cameras to the department.

Fire Captain Steve Terrones said, "We can turn this on and video tape somebody doing something, and then take it back to the station and show them, 'this is what you did, this is what it looks like'."

Terrones said when they take the footage back to the station after a scene for review, it's like a football team watching film.

"Every little aspect, we kinda go over. What we did great, what we did okay, and what we need to improve on," said Terrones.

He said its make the department better, keeping them and the community safer.

Terrones added, "We had an incident where we parked too close to a structure and it turned out to be nothing, but we like to come back and do the 'what if'. I mean, 'what if it had turned into a bigger incident'?"

KSBY News asked the Lompoc Fire Department to put their helmet cams to the test. Each step, and each move was documented.

"It's great to stand back after an incident and look at the whole incident and see what you're looking at," said Terrones.

But, Fire Chief Kurt Latipow said the cameras are much more than just internal learning tools.

He said, "We're using it [the cameras], as a tool to improve our community outreach, and give folks an opportunity to see what they do."

Damschroder compressed the hours of video from both types of cameras and creates a monthly television show about the department. It's available on cable access TV for Lompoc and Santa Maria residents.

"The better informed our public is, the safer our community is, and it reduces the instance of fire."

The Lompoc Fire Department said its dash and helmet camera program would not be possible without the funding and support of the Lompoc Firefighter's Foundation. Anyone interested in making a donation to the foundation can contact it's president, Judy Delp, at (805)733-0740.



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