They're high tech pieces of equipment, which come with high price tags.
But they're essential tools for firefighters across the country.
Earlier today, mason city fire department was one of the agencies getting some money to upgrade their gear.
Kimt news 3's nick kruszalnicki explains.xxx george and katie á this is a thermal imaging camera.
The fire department uses it.
It's a very important tool for their work.
As you can see right there, just take a look at that.
That is my face right there in the camera.
Now a thermal imaging camera like this is used to find someone who might be stuck in a fire.
It can separate their image from that of the flames.
Or possibly in a car accident where someone was ejected from a vehicle and they might be difficult to find.
Nats: fire truck.
"when it's low visibility and really smoky, it's hard to see so they allow us to see through smoke so it helps us with search and finding people quickly it also helps us find the scene of a fire a little bit quicker."
Captain jon anderson with the mason city fire department says the thermal imaging camera can save lives.
Today, alliant energy awarded a one thousand dollar grant to the fire department, to buy a new camera.
Rebecca gisel from alliant energy explains.
"we have hometown safety grants that we provide to communities, fire departments as one, especially and when they submit that grant, one of the things that we focus on is emergency equipment."
Gisel also had a ten thousand dollar check for the north central regional emergency response commission.
The money will buy gas monitoring devices the firefighters wear.
Nats: gas device beeping.
Captain anderson says calls the monitors valuable.
"so a typical call would be like a gas leak, someone is reporting a gas smell or a carbon monoxide call where somebody has a carbon monoxide detector in their home going off.
So we use these monitors to help us identify if there's actually a problem going on."
The new thermal imaging camera that the mason city fire department is getting is going to replace an older unit.
In mason city, nick the gas monitors will be given to four different volunteer fire departments in north iowa./// mayo clinic hospitals are