"We All Go Home"

In October, the nation honors America's fallen firefighters with National Fallen Firefighter Month. At deadline, approximately 90 firefighters this year have given the ultimate sacrifice in the name of this profession. This month's column examines some of...


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Regular scans with a TI help a firefighter develop a complete mental image of the structure. A firefighter's image of the building is not limited to what he feels during a blind search. He can see where windows and exits are, as well as any furniture or obstructions near the center of the room. Hoselines or rope lines from other crews will be evident, allowing crews to avoid duplicate efforts and recognize crossing paths.

Conclusion

It is 2007 and we are still losing 100 or more firefighters a year. Yes, some of the duty deaths are health related; others are driving related. But you have a tool that can all but eliminate the losses due to fire-related causes. Thermal imagers give firefighters the ability to see in a structure and avoid concentrations of heat, find hidden fire, identify structural problems and stay oriented.

A fire chief from Ohio once told me, "There is no excuse now for sending firefighters into a building blind." Maybe he is right…there shouldn't be any excuses.

Visit the Technology section of Firehouse.com to view various thermal images related to firefighter safety.

JONATHAN BASTIAN is a thermal imaging specialist for Bullard. He is certified as a thermal imaging instructor by the Law Enforcement Thermographers' Association (LETA). He is also the author of the FD Training Network "FireNotes" book, Thermal Imaging for the Fire Service. Bastian served 12 years on the North Park, IL, Fire Department, including the last three as a captain. He has taught classes on thermal imaging, rapid intervention teams and search and rescue operations. He is currently a public safety official in Central Kentucky. If you have questions about thermal imaging, please send them to jonathan_bastian@bullard.com.