Akron is buying 10 thermal imaging cameras for firefighters.

“Heat-detecting cameras will allow our first responders to locate a victim in an environment with very limited or no visibility,” Fire Chief Clarence Tucker said Wednesday in a prepared statement. “For a firefighter searching for a trapped victim, little is worse than losing your ability to see due to darkness or dense smoke.

“In a rescue operation where every second counts, these units can make the difference between life and death, by enabling us to find victims faster and increasing their chances of survival.”

The cameras, expected to cost about $50,000, will replace outdated equipment.

In addition to helping firefighters identify victims, thermal imaging cameras can be used to locate hidden flames or hot spots inside walls or other parts of a structure, and detect the main fire source. They also can be used to prevent electrical fires by helping identify overheated circuits in homes and businesses.