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  1. #1
    gordoffemt
    Firehouse.com Guest

    Question Thermal imaging at HazMat incidents

    My company is interested in buying a thermal imager to detect hydrogen fires. I'm wondering if anyone has any experience using thermal imagers at hazmat incidents and in what capacity. The more uses I can come up with, the better chance we'll have to get the money for one. Any ideas for potential uses will be appreciated also. Be creative! Thanks.

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    Lt. D. Gordon
    Greendale Fire Department
    Greendale, IN


  2. #2
    HHoffman
    Firehouse.com Guest

    Thumbs up

    We have used them to find the levels in tanks and drumbs. You have to watch some tanks reflect like glass. The hydrogen fires idea is a good one, never thought of that.

  3. #3
    570eck
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    Haven't used one on a haz-mat yet. The thing you would have to watch for is they are not intristicly safe, or at least the models that I've seen reports on. Recently the IAFF sent out some memos to this. As far as looking at tank levels this is helpful have done in it training but there are a lot of false readings or very difficult readings.

  4. #4
    Lewiston2Capt
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    You could also use it to determine whether a reaction is exothermic or endothermic. Could change your plan of attack. I would advise only using the TIC from the cold or warm zones. Cold being preferable.


    ------------------
    Shawn M. Cecula
    Captain
    Lewiston Fire Co. No. 2

  5. #5
    Petie
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    Lt. Gordon,
    TIC's have many applications in hazmat! One is to use the TIC to determine how much product is in a tank or container. Through the TIC the liquid will normally be cooler than the tank and the level of the liquid will show up well. I witnessed the Houston hazmat team use a TIC for this over 5 years ago. Ask Chief Danny Snell at Snell DG@aol.com more about this.

    Another use is on tank fire situations. I know the fire types in Walworth, Wisconsin used a TIC to see how effectively their hose streams were cooling a 30,000 propane tank that was being impinged by fire. The water was working as indicated by the TIC. This was done at a distance also which increased their safety.
    Lastly, the TIC is a tool that has duel use, both for fire fighting and hazmat. This is always a selling point! Good luck!

  6. #6
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    You can also use it to detect a non-polar liquid substance with a specific gravity less that 1.0. This can be useful when trying to decide where you might string a boom across a waterway. It can also allow you to determine the effectiveness of the boom.

    It can also be used on a tank fire to determine the downward progress of the heat wave. If it is a crude oil tank fire, this heatwave can cause a phenomena called a "boilover" that can spew the material 10 times the diameter of the tank.

    Finally, we have been told that it can be used to detect the progress of a vapor cloud. Haven't tried it yet, but the rep from bullard suggested it as a use.
    AJ Barto
    SLCFD
    HAZMAT Company #6

  7. #7
    Protective Economist Jonathan Bastian's Avatar
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    Default Re: Thermal imaging at HazMat incidents

    Originally posted by gordoffemt
    My company is interested in buying a thermal imager to detect hydrogen fires. I'm wondering if anyone has any experience using thermal imagers at hazmat incidents and in what capacity. The more uses I can come up with, the better chance we'll have to get the money for one. Any ideas for potential uses will be appreciated also. Be creative! Thanks.
    It seems most of our Brothers have picked out the major Hazmat uses for a TI. I received an inquiry from an automotive company asking the same question about hydrogen fires. While I haven not been able to test the theory, my experience tells me, "yes, you can see a hydrogen fire."

    A TI normally sees surface temperatures. However, flames and superheated gases have what is called "emissivity." As a result, they "trick" the TI into seeing them, even though they have no surface. So, even invisible flames (such as from hydrogen or ethanol) should generate enough radiant heat to appear as a dense, white, triangle-shaped "cloud."

    As 570 points out, there is no instrinsically safe TI in the fire service today. If you are worried about UELs and LELs, leave the TI in the cool or warm zone. A few other ideas for a TI in hazmat:
    a) track a leak to its source;
    b) identify which cylinder of compressed gas is leaking;
    c) using surface temperature measurement to determine if cooling efforts on a container are "winning" or "losing."

    Email me if you need additional information.
    My comments are sometimes educated, sometimes informed and sometimes just blowing smoke...but they are always mine and mine alone and do not reflect upon anyone else (especially my employer).

  8. #8
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    Lt Gordon,

    Sorry I did not reply sooner, I need to start checking this catagory as frequently as I check the one on Thermal Imaging.

    I did a presentation on Thermal Imaging & Haz Mat this past year at FDIC. There were over 100 people in attendence so it seems to be an area where people like yourself are interested in what Thermal Imaging can do in regards to Haz Mat Applications.

    A basic outline of the presentation is:
    Haz Mat Applications for a “Basic” Thermal Imager:
    1. Regain Sight in Zero Visibility
    2. Determine Product Levels
    3. Identify Product Release Points
    4. Monitor Product Movement
    5. Monitor Product Temperature

    Haz Mat Applications for an “Advanced” Thermal Imager:
    1. Remote Incident Monitoring
    2. Guided Operations
    3. Temperature Measurement

    Some of the posts above pointed out a number of these applications, and hopefully gave everyone some basic information. There is actually a lot that goes into using a thermal imager safely and effectively in Haz Mat. It is also an area of thermal imaging that is still developing on a daily basis. Your question on identifying a hydrogen fire is just another example of how thermal imaging can be used.

    I can tell you from both personal experience with methanol fires and from the experiences of others that a TI does do a good job in identifying the heat produced by “invisible fires”. We have a local racetrack that always has a number of Thermal Imagers on hand when they are working with cars that run off of methanol fuels so they can quickly identify fires, especially in the pits during refueling operations.

    If anyone is interested in training on Thermal Imaging and Haz Mat applications SAFE-IR does an outstanding job. You can find their information at www.safe-ir.com

    I will also post some examples.

    If I can be of assistance to anyone on this subject please don’t hesitate to contact me or post questions here.

    Good Luck, Stay Safe
    Mike Richardson
    Captain, Training Officer
    St Matthews FD, Louisville KY
    "aka TIman"
    richardson@stmatthewsfd.com

    TI Training = www.safe-ir.com

    The information and views above are in no way associated with my employer, and are strictly my own.

  9. #9
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    Some examples of Identifying Product Levels in Containers.

    You have to very careful with this one, there are a number of things that can give you no reading or a false reading.

    In the first picture below you can see how there can be a very clear product level line, but in the second picture you really can’t identify a product level in all of the drums.

    In the third picture you can clearly pick up a product level in the tank, but in the fourth picture not all of the tanks are showing a clear product level.

    There are a number of factors that will dictate whether you can see a product level, they include container construction, environmental conditions, product state, and Thermal Imager operation.

    If you are not careful in evaluating all of these factors, you can very easily misread or misinterpret what the Thermal Imager is showing you.
    Attached Images Attached Images  
    Mike Richardson
    Captain, Training Officer
    St Matthews FD, Louisville KY
    "aka TIman"
    richardson@stmatthewsfd.com

    TI Training = www.safe-ir.com

    The information and views above are in no way associated with my employer, and are strictly my own.

  10. #10
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    Some examples of Temperature Monitoring.

    This is another one that can really screw you up if you do not know how to interpret what the Thermal Imager is showing you, or you are not sure how to use a Temperature Measurement Feature.

    In the first picture you can clearly “Judge Temperatures”, you can tell the container on the left is “Cold”, the one in the center is “Ambient”, and the one to the right is “Hot”. Remember at this point we are not putting an exact number to how “Hot is Hot” or how “Cold is Cold”, we are simply comparing the temperature of the various objects.

    In the next series of pictures you can see how things can “get screwed up”. The object is an aluminum paint can that has been painted 3 different colors. If you go by the “Thermal Image” it appears the top and bottom parts of the can are “Hot” and the center part is “Cold”, however if you look at the numbers from the temperature measurement feature the top is 113° F, the middle is 95° F, and the bottom is 78° F. This is just the exact opposite of the thermal image with the top and bottom being “Hot” and the Center being “Cold”. This is happening for a number of reasons, the big issue coming into play here is “Emissivity Values”.

    In the final series of pictures you can once again see how things can get confusing. The hot object measured form a distance of about 30 feet is showing a temperature of 84° F. However if you notice as you get closer to the object the number climbs, 125° F at 20 feet, 231° F at 10 feet, and 325° F at about 5 feet. The temperature of the object has not changed, but the ability of thermal imager to judge temperature has changed based on distance, the issue of “Distance-to-Spot Ratio” is coming into play here.

    A thermal imager can be a very valuable tool when it comes to "Judging" or "Measuring" temperature but there is huge potential for error if you are not properly trained.
    Attached Images Attached Images  
    Mike Richardson
    Captain, Training Officer
    St Matthews FD, Louisville KY
    "aka TIman"
    richardson@stmatthewsfd.com

    TI Training = www.safe-ir.com

    The information and views above are in no way associated with my employer, and are strictly my own.

  11. #11
    Forum Member mdcook's Avatar
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    Thumbs up TIC in Haz Mat

    Capt. Richardson,
    Thank you for the pictures. This definately proves that a picture is worth a thousand words.

  12. #12
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    Sorry for the delay, have been out of town training, I am glad to provide the posts hopefully the info will help out.

    If there is anyone out there with questions or comments when it comes to thermal imagers and Haz Mat please jump in. Any question or comment is better than NO question or comment.

    Good Luck, Stay Safe,
    Mike Richardson
    Captain, Training Officer
    St Matthews FD, Louisville KY
    "aka TIman"
    richardson@stmatthewsfd.com

    TI Training = www.safe-ir.com

    The information and views above are in no way associated with my employer, and are strictly my own.

  13. #13
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    FYI,

    You may want to check out the discussion under the Thermal Imager topic.

    http://cms.firehouse.com/forums2/sho...threadid=64822

    If anyone has any Haz Mat experineces with a TI please post them! We need them so that others can learn from them.

    Any questions please fire away!

    Good Luck, Stay Safe,
    Mike Richardson
    Captain, Training Officer
    St Matthews FD, Louisville KY
    "aka TIman"
    richardson@stmatthewsfd.com

    TI Training = www.safe-ir.com

    The information and views above are in no way associated with my employer, and are strictly my own.

  14. #14
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    This wasn't my first hand experience, but I assisted a department who responded to a leaking cylinder of fluorine gas, which is pretty nasty in and of itself, and also produces hydrofluoric acid when moisture in the air is present (it was raining). They suspected that the cylinder was no longer leaking, but wanted to see if they could determine this from a distance before approaching to do other tests. I suggested using the TIC to determine if the cylinder was colder than its surroundings (indicating that it would still be leaking). I don't know how much success they had, I wished I could have followed up, but I think is something that could be looked into for future incidents.

  15. #15
    Protective Economist Jonathan Bastian's Avatar
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    For tips on Hazmat usage and training, view my articles here at Firehouse.com in the Technology section or in the print version of Firehouse. The articles are related, but not identical; you might want to look at both. Hazmat is specifically addressed in the articles from October 2004 and December 2004. I hope that helps.
    My comments are sometimes educated, sometimes informed and sometimes just blowing smoke...but they are always mine and mine alone and do not reflect upon anyone else (especially my employer).

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