Thermal imaging cameras allow firefighters to detect heat from fires inside buildings that are not yet visible, Halifax fire chief Jeremy King explained to Halifax Town Council at their Tuesday evening meeting.

King requested the purchase of additional thermal imaging cameras for his volunteer fire department at the meeting at Halifax Town Hall.

“It advances the time that we can find fires. Fires a lot of times are not visible; they’re in the ceiling or in the walls,” King explained. “This is going to make the job quicker. If there is a rescue at hand, we’ve got more people with the ability to see them…It would help the person whose home is on fire, and the person who may be trapped in there as well.”

Currently, the Halifax Volunteer Fire Department has two larger thermal imaging cameras and one smaller imaging camera.

King requested the purchase of 10 new smaller thermal imaging cameras for his department at a cost of $5,000.

The fire chief noted that the smaller cameras are more convenient for the firefighters to wear on their coats, weighing less than a pound compared to a bulkier five pounds for the larger cameras, and are more affordable than the larger thermal imaging cameras, which cost $3,000 apiece.

“With that being said, I can equip more people,” King said. “These smaller cameras are convenient, they’re easy, and they can do everything these larger cameras can do.”

Following King’s presentation, Mayor Dexter Gilliam thanked him for the job that he and the other members of the volunteer fire department do on a day-to-day basis, and said the town’s finance committee would review the funding request.

“We all appreciate everything that every one of you do,” Gilliam said. “I do recognize that over time the requirements of training and the expense are through the roof compared to what it used to be and it’s very difficult to recruit (volunteer firefighters).”

Later in the meeting, the Halifax mayor thanked the leader of another team of first responders – Halifax police chief Stuart Comer.

“The police department during the month of February, particularly with the two ice storms that we had, worked a lot of long hours in not so favorable conditions,” Gilliam commented. “I just appreciate everything all of you did and pitching in.”

Gilliam’s comments followed Comer’s report for the month of February, detailing the department’s work during the ice storms that downed trees and power lines in the town of Halifax, leaving many residents in the dark.

The police chief shared that a tree limb fell and hit the fender of a police sergeant’s vehicle while he was on duty, but the fender has been repaired, and the police sergeant was not injured in the accident.

Comer also pointed out in his report that the police department continues to be proactive in its enforcement activities in the North Main Street area, where traffic and pedestrian safety have been topics of concern as discussed in recent town council meeting.

Out of 35 stops made on North Main in the month of February, 28 citations were issued, Comer noted.

The town of Halifax is working to abate the traffic issues in the town’s main corridor, and to that end, the Virginia Department of Transportation is working with Michael Baker International to conduct a traffic safety study.

Mayor Gilliam encouraged everyone to take VDOT’s online traffic safety survey, and to participate in public meetings on the traffic safety study, which will be held at a later date, likely virtually.

“The more input that we have from the citizens of our community, the better it’s going to be,” Gilliam said.

The Halifax Town Council also took action on the following items at Tuesday’s meeting:

• Setting a public hearing for 7 p.m. April 13, during the next town council meeting, on a proposed ordinance from the town of Halifax enabling the Halifax County Service Authority to enforce its revised wastewater rules and regulations;

• Ratified a proclamation declaring April 22 Earth Day in the town of Halifax;

• Approved a resolution proclaiming April 17 “Halifax County Community Clean-Up Day;” and

• Approved the appointment of Hope Harris-Gayles as a new member of the Halifax County Service Authority’s board of directors.

Councilwoman Janice Powell and councilman Mike Trent were absent from the meeting.

Miranda Baines is a staff writer for The Gazette-Virginian. Contact her at mbaines@gazettevirginian.com.

Miranda Baines is a staff writer for The Gazette-Virginian. Contact her at mbaines@gazettevirginian.com.