Hartford firefighters being outfitted with new and much-needed equipment

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HARTFORD--Updated and upgraded, the Hartford Fire Department is testing out hundreds of thousands of dollars in new equipment.

Firefighters are now being outfitted with new air packs, which hold more air, have a homing beacon and provide a heads-up display in the mask to show how much oxygen a firefighter has left.

When a firefighter is low on air or is in distress, a Pack Tracker will help pinpoint where that firefighter is.

The fire department is also testing out new thermal imaging cameras.

For our full coverage of the issues plaguing the Hartford Fire Department over the past year, click here.

Commanding officers said it's not clear if any of the new equipment would have saved firefighter Kevin Bell's life Oct. 7, 2014, but his death certainly led to improvements in procedure and equipment.

"I know he's in heaven right now, just looking down, smiling, and I wish he was here," firefighter Atif Edwards said. "But you know what, things happen, we're moving on, and we have better equipment, and that's what we're happy for."

Hartford Fire said it spent $1.6 million on 150 new air packs.