A potentially lifesaving donation was gifted to the Fire Department of Mt. Juliet at a ceremony Wednesday.
Firehouse Subs Public Safety Foundation donated two thermal imaging cameras to the new fire station on Belinda Parkway during the ceremony held at Firehouse Subs in the Providence area.
Firehouse officials said the donated cameras will allow firefighters to detect body heat and hot spots in burning buildings, which allows them to reach victims quicker and put out deadly fires.
The cameras are worth $15,400, according to Firehouse Subs Public Safety Foundation Executive Director Robin Peters.
"We are so honored to give these," she said. "They will save lives."
City Manager Kenneth Martin said the city was delighted at the donation.
“These will surely help our firefighters save lives,” he said. “This is truly a blessing to our brand new fire department and our citizens.”
Attendees at the donation event were local firefighters, Firehouse Subs franchisees Karen and Brian Desmarais, Firehouse Subs area representative Bob Conochalla and Peters.
Brian Desmarais said they were excited to know the department now has the devices.
"It great to know that you have them and you have started the department," he said. "Our customers had a lot to do with it as well."
This is because each restaurant recycles leftover, five-gallon pickle buckets and sells them to guests for $2. Donation canisters on register counters explain the non-profit’s mission and collect spare change, while the Round UP Program allows guests to “round up” their bill to the nearest dollar. All funds raised benefit the Foundation.
Public Safety Director Andy Garrett said the new equipment adds to the safety of the community. He noted city employee C.J. Kiekens wrote the grant to help secure the devices.
Fire Chief Erron Kinney demonstrated how the heat seeking devices work.
"They allow us to scan a room quickly and speeds up a scan of a room quickly," he said. "And they allow us to navigate."
The Chief also explained the devices can help determine how much fluid is left in a tank after an accident, and help locate a lost child in thick woods.
Assistant Fire Chief Erron Kinney used a phrase he said his son uses, "they are the bomb.”
In 2005, Firehouse Subs created the Subs Public Safety Foundation with the mission to provide funding, life-saving equipment, and educational opportunities to first responders and public safety organizations. The foundations has given $7.7 million to hometown heroes in 38 states and Puerto Rico, including more than $408,150 in Tennessee, according to Foundation officials.