Eastpointe to make public safety purchases

By: Bria Brown | Roseville - Eastpointe Eastsider | Published August 17, 2016

 Eastpointe is purchasing two MSA Evolution 6000 Plus thermal imaging cameras for the Fire Department. Firefighters use the cameras to locate victims in smoke-filled environments.

Eastpointe is purchasing two MSA Evolution 6000 Plus thermal imaging cameras for the Fire Department. Firefighters use the cameras to locate victims in smoke-filled environments.

Photo provided by MSA Safety Inc.

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Eastpointe City Council members approved the purchase of two thermal imaging cameras for the Eastpointe Fire Department and tabled until the next meeting the approval to purchase two police patrol vehicles for the Eastpointe Police Department during the Aug. 9 City Council meeting.

Currently, the Eastpointe Fire Department owns three thermal imaging cameras that are used during firefighter operations. Out of the three thermal imaging cameras, one is a new model purchased in December 2015. They will now purchase two new thermal imaging cameras to replace two older cameras.

Thermal imagers allow firefighters to locate victims in smoke-filled, zero-visibility environments. They also are used to detect hot spots in concealed spaces and efficiently locate fires in hazardous conditions.

“The purchase of new thermal imaging cameras (TICs) is both a replacement of older equipment and an upgrade,” Eastpointe Fire Chief Larry Folkerts stated in an email. “The old units were no longer supported by their manufacturer, and there have been many improvements to the technology over the last 10 or so years. The department purchased one new unit last budget year, and this year’s purchase will place TICs on all three front-line apparatus,” stated Folkerts.

“Thermal imaging cameras can ‘see’ through darkness or smoke, allowing firefighters to quickly find the seat of a structure fire, or see the heat signature of visually obscured victims. They can be used to spot smoldering fires inside a wall, or detect overheating electrical wiring.

With less manpower today, the TIC has become an essential tool in the fire service,” stated Folkerts.

The Fire Department recommended purchasing the MSA Evolution 6000 Plus thermal imaging camera. According to the memorandum in the City Council agenda packet, the cameras will cost $12,877.98 ($6,438.99 each) including the MSA vehicle kits, which have a vehicle charger and two rechargeable batteries with each camera. The cost of shipping is $50. Budgeted funds are available for the purchase in the Fire Department operating equipment account, according to the agenda packet.

Eric Keiser, Eastpointe police deputy chief, stated that the City Council tabled the vehicle proposal to research the issue.

“The agenda item for the purchase of police vehicles will be added to the next council agenda unchanged. The council tabled the proposal so they could have time to research the issue,” said Keiser.

The South Macomb Oakland Regional Authority has some role in the purchases.

“Yes, directly and indirectly. We spend about $14 million on police and fire together, and SMORSA generates about ($7 million). It’s a major chunk of the revenue that goes toward it; without it, we would be left to operate on less than half of the revenue we have. … We would be severely limited to what we could do with police and fire if we didn’t have SMORSA,” said City Manager Steve Duchane.

The Eastpointe Police Department budgeted the purchase of two patrol vehicles in the fiscal year 2016-17 budget, according to the agenda packet. The new vehicles reportedly will replace high-mileage patrol cars no longer suitable for the demands of patrol use. The proposed purchases include one 2017 Ford Police Interceptor utility patrol vehicle costing $29,654, and one 2016 Ford Police Interceptor sedan patrol vehicle costing $28,243.

According to the agenda packet, there is an additional cost of approximately $15,000 for equipment for the vehicles. The total cost is $72,897, and it would be paid from budgeted capital account funds. 

The City Council will revisit purchasing the police vehicles during the council’s next meeting Aug. 23.

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