By MORGAN MANNS
The late Bob Hauser dedicated many years of his life to the Fostoria Fire Department.
He served as a firefighter, a fire inspector and an EMT before retiring in 1987 as assistant fire chief. However, his passion and service didn’t end there.
“Even after retirement he was very active in what we were doing and always concerned for what we did,” interim Fire Chief Brian Herbert said. “He was very highly respected in this department and in the community.”
Even when he passed away unexpectedly on July 18, Hauser’s commitment to the fire family continued on. In his memory, contributions from his funeral were to be made to the Fostoria Fire Department.
More than $3,700 was donated to the department in his honor, according to firefighter and Fostoria Local 325 union President Randy Ruble. And with that money, officials decided to invest in equipment Hauser would be proud of.
“We spent the money on things that would leave a lasting impression in the community and leave Bob proud,” Ruble said.
“We wanted to buy something in his honor, something Bob would appreciate because he was all about the guys,” Herbert added.
The department invested in a thermal imaging camera, designed to help firefighters find victims of structure fires. The device serves as a heat seeker, locating different temperatures in a room and displaying a visual of the heat source on a camera.
In the event of a fire, the heat source from a hiding child or other individual would be significantly lower than the heat produced from the fire and smoke around them. The hotter temperatures appear white while the cooler temperatures are darker.
However, the device serves several other purposes as well.
The TIC can help firefighters find hot spots in walls and ceilings after a fire to more efficiently extinguish the flames and prevent further damage to the home.
Likewise, the equipment can locate faulty ballasts in fluorescent light fixtures.
If a ballast is bad in a light, it will be significantly hotter than the others, according to Herbert.
In addition, Herbert said the camera could also be useful in the event of a motor vehicle accident.
If the crash occurs at night or near a field or wooded area, the TIC could be used to locate someone who might have been thrown from a vehicle by seeking their body heat.
“It has multiple purposes and is a real asset to the department,” Herbert said. “We were long-overdue for a new one.”
FFD recently retired a 20-year-old TIC as its service life had ended. Another TIC — approximately 10 years old — is housed on the department’s rescue engine.
This new device should last 10-15 years depending on use, according to Herbert, and will be placed in the department’s main firefighting engine.
The union used $3,000 from the Bob Hauser Memorial Fund to purchase the $4,500 piece of equipment while the city fronted the rest from the department’s capital needs fund, according to Herbert.
The remaining memorial fund money — approximately $700 as well as money from prior donations — was used to purchase 53 new lock boxes for the community at a total of about $1,600.
Formerly called the Locked Out Program, the Fostoria Fire Department has decided to rename the program after Hauser in honor of his donation and service.
The program allows safety personnel to have easy access to a residence when responding to emergency medical calls when that individual lives alone and is unable to get to their door.
A lock box, similar to what real estate agents use, is placed on the handle of the main door at the residence at no cost to the homeowner. The box, which has a reflective sticker on it labeling FFD, can only be accessed by fire and police personnel.
Inside the hardened steal boxes is a key to the residence, the resident’s name and age, an emergency contact and medical history.
“We’ve had a huge outcry in the community for them,” Ruble said. “Multiple residents wanted them but the funds were all donations and we didn’t have the funds to keep it going.”
The program began in January of 2015 thanks to donations from local businesses as a way for first responders to get into a resident without damaging the home.
Since, the department has installed around 35 lock boxes throughout the community with several residents on a waiting list. Most of the 53 new boxes will be used for those residents on the waiting list, according to Ruble.
“We’re very grateful for the money Bob had donated to us to be used for what we used it for,” he said. “We’re here to help the city in any way, shape or form we can. We strive to make this a better community and keep people safe.”
Calls made to Hauser’s wife, Marilyn, were not returned by press time.