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Updated: July 8th, 2008 05:26 PM CDT

High-Tech Cameras Coming to Three Fire Stations

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By AnnMarie Cornejo
The Tribune via Knight Ridder

More fire stations in San Luis Obispo County are gaining a new tool that has the potential of saving lives.

Thermal imaging cameras -- used to detect heat sources that would otherwise not be visible -- will soon be used in Oceano, Los Osos and Grover Beach.

They are already being used by firefighters everywhere else in the county.

The Oceano Fire Department expects to receive the $14,000 device today.

Oceano fire Capt. John Bova said the thermal camera will be used to find hot spots in burned structures and to find people in burning buildings.

"The image is definitely clear enough to identify if a child is hiding under a bed," Bova noted.

The camera weighs about five pounds and provides an outlined image of an object. It doesn't show detailed features, Bova said.

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