The Right Tool for the Job
In 2016, Manatee County Search and Rescue (MCSAR) in Parrish, Florida received a grant from the Firehouse Subs Public Safety Foundation for two thermal imaging cameras and personal protective equipment (PPE). As a volunteer 501(c)(3) search and rescue organization that runs on donations from the community it serves, this was much needed equipment.
A year later, these tools were used to save the life of a young boy.
In May of 2017, MCSAR assisted the St. Petersburg Police Department as they searched for a missing autistic boy. While MCSAR’s K9 team was getting ready to deploy its K9, a training officer spotted movement out of the corner of his eye down a dark alleyway. From there, rescuers used the donated thermal imaging camera to spot what appeared to be a head popping up and down from behind a barrier. The boy was found minutes later behind a large plastic trash can about 100 yards down the alleyway. The boy was evaluated and treated for minor cuts and scrapes. At the end of the day, he was returned to his family safely.
When asked about finding the missing child, Logistics Officer S. Leggett stated, “It brought a child home safely, effectively and quickly. The faster a child is brought home, the less of a chance it is for them to become injured.” She continued by explaining that “the dog would have had to follow the track around for at least 30 minutes before the child was found. The awarded equipment decreased that time to less than 10 minutes.”
MCSAR would like to thank all those who make the Firehouse Subs Public Safety Foundation possible. To those that donate, they want you to know it really does help first responders.
“The donation of these thermal imaging cameras was a great addition to our organization. I feel that they will be, and already have shown to be, a significant asset when locating missing persons now and in the future” – Team Coordinator J. Leggett