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Donation helps Janesville Fire Department buy search, rescue equipment

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Shelly Birkelo
May 5, 2011
— The Janesville Fire Department will buy new search and rescue equipment it wouldn’t have been able to afford without the $9,500 donation it will receive Thursday from TransCanada Corp.

The money will be used to buy a thermal imaging camera and shoring equipment, Fire Chief Jim Jensen said.

The thermal imaging camera will help firefighters search for victims, locate flames and find their way in and out of smoke-filled buildings, he said.

The shoring equipment will be used to support damaged buildings, shore trenches and stabilize vehicles involved in crashes, Jensen said.

TransCanada’s ANR Pipeline Co. in 2010 completed a nine-mile natural gas pipeline construction project in Janesville, according to a press release from Michael Barnes, TransCanada communications manager.

Phillip Bohannon, project manager for TransCanada, said Janesville Fire Department personnel were terrific partners who worked closely with the company.

“They made a couple of pretty deep, confined-space entries. They brought us out and preplanned so we were prepared. They kept us informed when they were making entries, just so if something happened we’d be prepared for it,’’ Jensen said.

Bohannon said the company’s compressor station and pipeline have been a part of the community for years.

“So we thought we would give back by helping support the city’s emergency response efforts. Safety is a top priority for our company and this donation helps keep citizens here safe,” Bohannon said.

Jensen said he knew TransCanada was considering giving the department an equipment grant, but he had no idea it would be so much.

“We were pleasantly surprised and certainly very happy to receive it with all the uncertainty of our budget right now,’’ he said.

“So some of these equipment items we were looking at probably would have had to be put off or not purchased at all,’’ he said.

The fire department has thermal imaging cameras on all five of its engines. They were bought in the mid-1990s after fundraisers and the help from Lab Safety Supply, other businesses and individuals. They’ve seen heavy use and are expensive to maintain or replace, Jensen said.

The department will use most of the donation to buy a mid-priced thermal imaging camera, and the rest of the money will pay for shoring equipment, Jensen said.

“We’re hoping it will pay for both and be bought within a month,’’ he said.


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