Thermal Imager Training: Finding Hidden Fires

Normally, when someone calls 911 and requests the fire department, the nature and location of the emergency is obvious. Family members lead us to ill patients, and the location of an injury collision is usually evident based on visual evidence such as...


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Hidden fires pose numerous challenges and dangers. Finding these smoldering dangers frequently involves numerous inspection holes or merely waiting for the fire to break into the open. By properly using their thermal imagers, firefighters can locate these fires faster, saving themselves tremendous amounts of time and energy. Prompt identification of a hidden fire also can result in significant property savings, as the fire is extinguished with less water and with less damage by fire, smoke and firefighters.

For several more stories about successfully locating hidden fires with the aide of a TI, visit the Technology section of Firehouse.com.


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.