Thermal Imager SOGs: Key Points for Development

Making Every Emergency Operation Smoother and Safer Standard operating guidelines (SOGs) have become the mainstay of many public safety agencies. Many fire departments have extensive SOGs covering a wide array of situations, call types, uniform...


Making Every Emergency Operation Smoother and Safer Standard operating guidelines (SOGs) have become the mainstay of many public safety agencies. Many fire departments have extensive SOGs covering a wide array of situations, call types, uniform requirements and equipment operation. Your thermal...


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You should also codify how the thermal imager will assist a search team or help manage the process of the search. The two most common systems are to send the TI into the room with the firefighter or to leave the TI in the hall with the partner. If the firefighter with the TI enters the room to do a search, a partner stays at the door as a reference point. Otherwise, the TI is used from the hallway to monitor conditions and the progress of the searching firefighter, who enters the room blind.

Beds can wreak havoc on thermal imaging interpretation. Your SOGs should specify that beds are always checked by hand, regardless of what the TI indicates. If your TI shows what appears to be a bed, the SOG should require that a firefighter search the top and underneath the bed by hand, then pull the bed from the wall to ensure no one is wedged between the wall and the mattress.

BRAD HARVEY is the Thermal Imaging Product Manager at Bullard. He is a veteran of public safety as a firefighter, police officer and paramedic and is certified through the Law Enforcement Thermographers' Association (LETA) as a thermal imaging instructor. Harvey has worked as a high-angle rescue instructor and is a certified rescue technician and fire instructor. If you have questions about thermal imaging, you may e-mail him at brad_harvey@bullard.com.