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This is an excellent way to drive home the use of proper techniques, as well as determine the best system for carrying your TI. Some sort of strap is the most common method, as it gives you the ability to remove the TI from your sight and free both hands to help advance a hoseline. However, you should try different carrying systems to find the one that best suits your operations. Normally, the manufacturer has several carrying options; however, you could find that a backboard strap or other system is more convenient.
Your TI is an awesome tool. It gives you the ability to see dangerous conditions, as well as changing conditions, inside a smoke-filled structure. But that ability to “see” can foster over-confidence, as well as over-reliance on the tool. Remember that the TI does not change the environment. Practice solid search techniques regularly so that your TI adds to your safety level, rather than detracting from it.
For more tips on safety, as well as a deeper discussion on how to move through a structure, visit the Technology section of Firehouse.com.
Jonathan Bastian is the thermal imaging training manager at Bullard. He leads the training team, whose primary effort is to educate the fire service on the safe and proper use of thermal imagers. Bastian is certified as a thermal imaging instructor by the Law Enforcement Thermographers’ Association (LETA), the international public safety organization specializing in thermal imager certification and training. He is also a member of the NFPA Technical Committee on Fire Service Training. Educated at Brown University and licensed as a high school teacher in Illinois, Bastian served 12 years on the North Park, IL, Fire Department, including the last three as a captain. As health and safety officer, he led the development and implementation of the department’s rapid intervention team SOG. Bastian is a certified Fire Instructor I and Firefighter III, and he spent 12 years as an EMT-I/D. He has taught classes on thermal imaging, rapid intervention teams, and search and rescue operations. Bastian is happy to answer any questions about thermal imaging; contact him at email@example.com.