Trics Of The Trade: Search Camera

By looking around inside the debris pile we may be able to determine if there are any viable victims in this general location. Slideshow Images:Trics of the Trade: Search Camera - Life Location System 

By looking around inside the debris pile we may be able to determine if there are any viable victims in this general location. Slideshow Images:

The Searchcam victim location system is another valuable tool to have in our cache when we respond to a building collapse. Whether the collapse is from a fire, tornado, an earthquake, or explosion, a hurricane or any other type of major emergency like subway or train derailment, if void exploration is going to be an option where we suspect viable victims are in need of rescue, this type of tool will be of great value.

This tool is designed for void insertion through holes as small as 1.75 inches and allows full 360 viewing in full color with audio. Although the camera will only articulate 180 degrees, rotating the whole apparatus will afford the 360 degree viewing area. This camera can be an awesome tool when used properly for locating and/or speaking to victims buried beneath debris and unable to free themselves.

Once again, I am speaking about this specific tool because this is what I train on and know about. There are other tools out there that will do a similar task and if you are in the market to purchase one, please do your research to determine which tool is most suited for your specific application. The Searchcam 2000 with audio by Search Systems is what we will discuss this month. (see photo 1)

This tool is unique in that we can insert this in to voids to look and listen to make a preliminary determination on whether we should start a void search in this area or continue looking in other areas for viable signs of life. By looking around inside the debris pile we may be able to determine if there are any viable victims in this general location. In addition, with the listening capabilities we can turn up the volume to listen for moaning, groaning, or breathing sounds. Just as we discussed last month with the Delsar listening device, when listening we need to call for an "all quite" when homing in on sounds that we suspect are live victims.

The Searchcam is made to with stand rain and weather, but is not made to be submersed into fluids and it will conduct electricity. Should you come in contact with a live wire with the probe while searching you could be electrocuted, therefore, as per normal SOG's, it is our responsibility to verify that all power sources have been terminated. That includes any overhead lines that may cause a problem.

The Searchcam is also not intrinsically safe. This system can not be used in any type of a flammable environment, so we must therefore verify that the atmosphere is free of explosive gasses and flammable liquids prior to operating the system. Failure to assure that the atmosphere is free from flammable gasses or liquids may result in an explosion and guess who is standing at the initiation point.

To activate the system, depress the lowest lever on the hand grip to power up. (see photo 2) Hold the lever down until the system is activated. When turning the system off, depress and hold the lever for about three seconds, this feature prevents accidental shut down during use. The probe is where the camera, lights and transmitter/receiver are located. (see photo 3)

The camera is equipped with an electronic auto-shutter that will adjust to the various lighting levels that will be encountered; such as going from day light to darkness. The illumination system is controlled by depressing the second lever down from the top. It is a toggle type of lever and you can increase or decrease the amount of light in increments. To move the camera the first lever on the grip is toggled left or right. You will have to be aware of the forces generated when moving the camera, the articulating joint can only take so much force and once an obstruction is met you must stop the movement. To much force will break the joint and place the whole system out of service.

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