New boat will help TVF&R with water rescues

Boat 59 has best-in-class equipment

Tualatin Valley Fire and Rescue boat 59. (TVF&R)
Tualatin Valley Fire and Rescue boat 59. (TVF&R)

WEST LINN, Ore. (KOIN) — Tualatin Valley Fire and Rescue debuted a new, state of the art boat that could help them save lives on the water.

The water rescue team recently retired an old jet boat and replaced it with a far-superior new Boat 59. The new boat features a FLIR thermal imaging camera that will be key in searching the water for lost swimmers at night. With the new technology, no matter how dark it is, a person in the water will light up.

During a simulated rescue mission Friday night, crews were able to spot their swimmer in seconds with FLIR, well before they could detect anyone with night vision googles or floodlights.

The new technology will help with rescue operations in all weather and water conditions.

“This device can be used as a nighttime navigation tool as well,” said Captain Jon Voeller, who leads the Water Rescue Team. “It’s a game changer. With such a large range of calls, FLIR’s technology helps us perform our jobs in the safest manner.”

FLIR is a Wilsonville-based company whose technology was used to find the Boston bomber, who was hiding in a boat on someone’s lawn. A helicopter equipped with a FLIR camera spotted him.