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  1. #1
    Diane
    Firehouse.com Guest

    Question Thermal Cameras and the like

    A friend of mine from CT is looking for info and comments on the different thermal detection cameras out there. I told her to post here, but it looks like she hasn't.

    So, I will forward any comments to her.

    Thanks!


  2. #2
    Pete Swan
    Firehouse.com Guest

    Post

    Your friend can get information from manufacturers such as Globe, Bullard Etc. Also some of the larger departments such as Hartford are using Thermal Imagers.The Connecticut Fire Academy also has a course outline For Thermal Imaging For the Fire Service available. I hope this info helps. Good Luck.

  3. #3
    Mike C
    Firehouse.com Guest

    Post

    Here is some info off the web:

    IMAGER SOP’S

    RESPONSE

    All command units are fitted with a thermal imagers. The purpose of the system is to allow the command unit to drive through and see through dense smoke and position the unit in a command position. The imager is pointed towards the fire building on arrival.

    SIZE UP

    Command shall sizeup the structure fire using the imager to locate the fire floor, side of the structure involved, and extent of fire extension into other floors or attic. The best position for the command unit to view the structure is to see at least three sides on the way in on detached buildings by driving by and stopping the unit on a corner. On commercial buildings the command unit sets up in a collapse free area.

    Exposures shall be scanned to determine actual thermal load and probability of risk to adjoining exposures. Tripod mounted imagers with data links will be setup to view the rear of structures and broadcast back to the command unit.

    No fire shall be attacked unless it has been scanned for crew safety!

    After the structure and exposures are scanned command shall give a condition report to responding companies.

    Example: “Dispatch 101 on-scene at 4411 Honker establishing Honker IC. We have a two story frame dwelling with a ground floor fire on side three and heavy heat build up on the second floor. We have a single story dwelling exposed on side 3 requiring action. Truck 1 operate an unmanned master stream on the exposure and pull an attack line to the front door.”

    ATTACK

    The captains seat is equipped with an imager for the attack crew. The crew compartment carries a hand held imager for the rescue crew or second attack line. All imager wearers shall carry a portable radio with David Clark headset and boom mike to stay in constant contact with Operations or Command. They shall answer up to COMMAND as RESCUE and ATTACK.

    The imager will go in with the attack and rescue crews on all calls. Both imagers are setup with a wireless digital data links to broadcast images of what the camera views to the command unit. The command unit is setup with video recorders and TV’s to view transmitted images.

    Any door with more than a 40% thermal load is shouting watch out, it shall not be entered until ventilation and a hose line are in place to avoid flashover or back draft. The crews should constantly scan the entire room looking for victims, firefighters in trouble, and fire extension. Watch for ceiling level heat wave build up and report it. The scanning process will greatly improve firefighter situational awareness and in the event the imager should fail the crew leader will have a much better feel for his surrounding.

    The Command unit will be viewing what your seeing from the exterior will be able to tract crew progress and fire growth. Crew members must stay in contact with the imager wearer.

    SEARCH

    The thermal imager will greatly speed fire scene search operations. It is essential the primary search be carried out as quickly as possible by rapidly walking or leaning over and covering as much territory as possible. As you fly through the building report to Operations anything viewed that he should know about.

    Block off dangerous conditions like holes in the floor, hanging wires, etc.

    Close doors to retard fire extension. Start above the fire with your search or beside the fire on single family dwellings. Each floor should take no longer than three minutes.

    Crews shall ventilate as they go in high heat or extremely dense smoke conditions allowing outside companies to view interior progress.

    Crew members must stay in contact with the imager wearer. Remember, to look for thermal hand prints on doors, walls and floors. Report these to command. Look for thermal signatures on all chairs and beds and report the number of recent users of each. Sound an “all clear” as soon as possible then assign the imager to the next crew to perform a more through secondary search.

    EXTENSION

    The imager shall be used before and after knockdown to check for fire extension. The imager shall be taken through the attic on all room and contents, kitchen, electrical, or fireplace fires. The imager can look through sheet rock, lathe and plaster, and acostical ceiling tile.

    COMMAND EYE IN THE SKY

    On all incidents beyond room and contents fires all TVs and video recorders in the command unit shall be on viewing ATTACK and RESCUE crews. The command units vehicle mounted imager shall be focused to view two sides of the structure and the duty officers imager shall view the other two sides of the structure. Whenever possible extend the aerial as a light tower and use their aerial mounted imager to view the incident from above.

    Command will be turned to the correct page of the Fire Attack Guide and have the appropriate building prefire and site plan in hand during all interior operations. Use the floor plans to tract crew position in the building.

    The IC or deputy IC shall keep constant radio contact with interior companies and monitor the TV images to insure crew safety and tactical success. Watch for crew progress and hazards. Withdraw companies if visible heat levels do not dissipate with water application or if crews cannot keep lines advancing, Keep an eye on the aerial TV monitor to insure the fire does not run the cockloft or attic above attack crews. Make sure roof crews vent where indicated with the imager. False ceilings may block product of combustion release but it will be very evident through the imager. Viewing masonry walls with the vehicle system will show potential areas of collapse long before failure.

    RAPID INTERVENTION TEAMS

    The RIT teams will be asigned an imager and whenever possible will be lead by the deputy IC who has viewed thermal images of the incident to that point.

    HAZ MAT

    Use the imager to view levels of flammable liquid tanks or pressure vessels. To determine effectiveness of cooling streams, to monitor vapor clouds or gas releases.

    WILDLAND

    Vehicle mounted imagers will allow crews to penetrate thick smoke and darkness and attack the head or flanks of wildland fires. It will allow the crew to see the topography, odscured fences, ditches, and other problems before they become an obstacle or trap. It will help you avoid running into civilian foot and vehicle traffic as they flee wildland areas. The imager should be used to look for downed power lines before crews dismount the apparatus. Wood shake roofs and structures can be viewed to determine which is the most at risk and allow command to better allocate resources. Imaging Class A foam, Compressed Air Foam Streams CAF’s and Gel operations to insure coverage of effected materials. Smoke columns can be viewed to determine the amount of flying brands and direction of likely fallout.

    OVERHAUL

    All fires will be completely viewed and recorded to insure the fire is out before releasing companies.

    FIRE ATTACK GUIDE

    The fire attack guide spells out specifics for imager use on each of fire or rescue incident.

    2. MUTUAL AID Remember, that mutual aid companies don’t have a clue what an imager is and will think we are performing our assignments recklessly. The information the imager(s) provide allows us to see through smoke and darkness and not work by seat of the pants judgment but base our actions on the reality of the situation. PRECAUTIONS With the EEV/Argus: Do not look directly at fire it will damage the vidicon tube. Always check the battery level before walking away from the apparatus. Make sure a rag is available to wipe the vidicon tube in thick smoke. Exercise extreme caution with the delicate camera. When camera is off do not point at sun or heat. Replace batteries after every use.
    3. With the TI: Leave the unit on white hot and scan during response.
    4. With the IRIS : Remember the lens is offset from your eyes things will always be two to three feet to the left of the image. Steam or fog build up or high carbon smoke on the eye pieces will fog vision, wipe as needed. Exercise extreme care for the delicate components. Check the battery before leaving the apparatus.On ocassion the entire viewer will white out because everything is hot. Practice staying oriented as go travel through the structure. The image lens is offset from your natural line of sight. This can make it difficult to judge distance, staris, door knobs, and obstacles. Thermal imaging although not new to the fire service seems to finally be receiving wide spread acceptance. Some departments are in there second or third generation of imagers going back to the mid 70’s. This article will look at some of the applications and devices available. What is imaging? Simply stated it is a thermal (heat) view of the world. Looking through a thermal imaging camera provides a black and white TV view through smoke or darkness. Hot things will appear white. Hotter things an even brighter white. Very cold things black and other things in between will be shades of gray. People will look like people and rooms will look like rooms. The attic checked out clear of fire extension. Fire or heat would have stood out for all to see. Why an imager? We can never forget that one of the three largest fires in this country’s history was a rekindle. It cost 25 lives and 5,000 structures. Every department has had their share of rekindles. With recycled newspaper insulation leaving early can almost always result in another fire. Imaging allows the confidence to leave the scene. Other obvious reasons are search and rescue, nighttime wildland firefighting, proper sizeup based upon the facts not a seat of the pants assumption, checking smell of smoke in the area calls, haz mat use, checking fire extension, and most importantly is improved vision which will result in reduced firefighter injuries and death. The horror stories you’ve heard over the years of firefighters stepping over other downed firefighters and not knowing it, won’t occur with imager equipped companies. Officer’s sending firefighters into building on the assumption the fire in not above or below them won’t occur. That has costs lots of lives. So much of what we do is on a hunch or incomplete information the imager will now help provide. Wires obscured by smoke that firefighters have walked into will be visible. Crews calling for help and RIC teams not being able to locate them will be a thing of the past. Vent crews won’t walk off a roof they can see. Firefighters will not lose their way crawling on their hands and knees in heavy smoke. Situational awareness will improve. Crews dying next to windows they didn’t know where there trying to feel around with a gloved hand will just be nightmares of old. Crews investigating seemingly small fires under suspended ceilings that get away and eventually kill will become visible on entry and allow instant requests for additional support. More importantly the crews won’t stand under the involved space. We won’t hear reports of rescue crews crawling over small children while searching on their hands and knees. Overhaul discover of victims will go away. Firefighters won’t get lost in large area buildings and run out of air trying to find a point of escape. Victims will literally glow in a room. It will be very hard not to find a victim with your improved sense of sight offered by an imager. The best benefit will be firefighters will know where they are at all times. Past reliance on hearing and feel will give way to sight, touch and sound. You’re the first in company on this reported building fire. How many rooms are burning? What additional resources would you request if any? All humans are limited by their four senses. Because we cannot se through walls we should expect the following condition report, “Engine 2 on-scene nothing showing, we can handle, cancel all other responding companies.” What a huge mistake has just been made! Notice how dark the glass is on the first window on the gable side of the building? Probably not! In just a few minutes no amount of help can reverse the decisions made in the size up limited by human senses. From 250’ using an imager the company officer could have seen that this room was fully involved. The image would have screamed there is a fire in this building! An imager will enhance commands ability to run a fire. Just 2 minutes later it is “show time!” A quick attack is no longer an option! What you see on arrival makes a huge difference. A thermal imager will allow the first in unit to look through smoke and darkness. It will allow hot walls and windows to glow. None of this is possible without an imager.This is the lowest cost imager on the market. It is made by Texas Instruments and available through Crash Rescue Equipment(972) 243-3307. This vehicle mounted system sells for under $ 10K. You get the white imager on the roof and a TV in the cab. This allows responding companies navigate through smoke and darkness on the way to a call. Provides a remote controlled imager on a swivel that can look in any direction or automatically sweep back and forth. The joy stick control allows an exterior view of the incident and a much better sizeup. Wildland applications are very exciting. Pump and roll operations can continue in spite of heavy smoke conditions. Imagers are so sensitive they can detect a human body standing in front of a flammable liquid pit fire. Every fire truck at some point has had to work its way into a fire area in heavy smoke. Imaging allows safe travel. What’s more you can see oncoming crazy motorists who throw caution to the wind and drive through smoke rushing to escape or get home. Wildland interface areas have a tremendous need for such systems. Using an imager you can see flying brands and areas being heated that are invisible to the human eye. These firefighters are equipped with a EEV(right) available that was sold by Fire Research(800) 645-0074 and a Cairnes (left)IRIS (800) 422-4767. The EEV was the first widely used imager. It has some weakness that firefighters need to be aware or they could destroy the imager. It should not be pointed at direct flame or at very hot objects. The US Navy calls the unit a NIFTI and has several thousand of these units. They recommend keeping the fire or hot object on the outer most part of the view finder. Pointing the EEV imager for even a few seconds will damage the vidicon tube possible beyond repair. If spots appear on the screen it is possible to remove them by pointing the unit for a few hours at a slide/movie screen. If the spots are not removed they often become permanent. A couple other makes can suffer spots that can be removed the same way.
    Thermal imagers are a very visible indicator of a departments concern for their own firefighters. The archaic practice of sending firefighters into smoke filled buildings on their hands and knees hoping they won’t get hurt and might find somebody in the process needs to be replaced. Giving the crew back their eye sight is the most reasonable answer. The technology is mature enough to do it today! The best demonstration for the need for an imager can be conducted in any abandon multiple story house or a school building, warehouse, hanger or gym after hours. Simply turn the lights out or use a pepper fogger to smoke the structure to zero visibility. Have two victims find a place inside and send in 10 firefighters wearing breathing apparatus to find them. In most cases the rescue crews will be out 15 to 30 minutes later air bottles depleted and victimless! Send in two rookies with an imager and they’ll be out in a few minutes with the victims. Invite the local elected officials to witness the demonstration.

    The fire service has proven in the past that interior crews will go down even with a portable radio in their hand and not ask for help. Expecting a firefighter to turn their PASS device on has been proven over and over again as being almost impossible. An imager allows command to see what is going on inside the structure with his crews by the direct broadcast from the imager to an outside TV monitor. It is now possible to have a God’s eye view of the fire building. Roof top, individual rooms, and exterior views. The broad casts can be recorded for later review or even reviewed on scene to get a second opinion. Command can assign a quality control/safety officer to eliminate many of the dangerous things that are not currently seen. The end result will be a safer fire ground.

    It is high time we get serious about rescue and firefighter survival! Next issue will present a sample imager SOP. A review large imager users.

    A Handheld or a Helmet mount?

    Which is best a handheld or helmet mounted? Obviously it is up to the end user. Both have saved lives in heavy smoke conditions. Based upon using these cameras for 12 years I would say answer is you should own both! Firefighters like the helmet mount on attack but once knockdown is achieved, I’ve seen the handheld requested by name by members wearing helmet mounts many times. Command, the first in chief, or the first in company officer needs to scan the building before entry and the hand held is ideally suited for that application.

    Hand Helds
    *Instant use no adjusting, simply look through the view finder with or without an air pack face piece on.
    *No helmets to adjust.
    *No wires to snag on the unit.
    *Generally cost $7000 to $8000 and as much as $14,000 less than a helmet mounted system.
    *Some units also offer a color video and/or thermal imaging in the same unit.
    *Can be held above the head or through a hole to get an image.
    *Easily transferred from one user to another.
    *Most work well with an air pack face piece in place.
    *Units with AA batteries are quickly replaced at the corner store in a pinch on long duration incidents.
    *Units with rechargeables are more likely not to be around late into the incident and are prone to failure due to the week link of someone who was or is suppose to keep them charged.
    *Require a neck strap or clip to secure to the breathing apparatus harness when you need both of your hands.
    *What you see in the view finder is where you are because the view finder and imager are in line. With helmet systems the imager is off to the side of the head so the user must adjust a few inches of feet to find the object seen.
    *Some are available with wireless remote data links to project an image to a TV monitor and/or video recorded on the outside offering another set of eyes to watch crew progress and challenges.
    *Some units do not focus inside of 12 feet. Most do though.
    *Units with rechargeable batteries versus those with Nicads will offer more battery life problems.
    *Other than damaging the vidicon tube on older analog systems the handhelds are rather robust.
    *Storing the camera outside the box in an easy to grab mount insures it will go in with the crew.

    Helmet mounts
    *Keeps both hands free for fire and rescue activities.
    *Some offer video and thermal images.
    *With the imager attached to the helmet the imager goes in with the officer or wearer whether it is needed or not. It is essential that the unit not be left up to wearer discretion as to whether they want to wear it or not. If so, the odds are it won’t be where you need it when you need it.
    *Storing the imager helmet and batter pack ready to go out of the box it came in increases the odds it will get off the rig and in use early on.
    *What you see in the eyepiece is not what is really in front of the wearer. The image can be a few feet or inches off. Grabbing a doorknob is quite a challenge with a helmet system. It is much easier to walk into a wall, door or down a set of stairs if you are not well versed in its use.
    *The wearer has to remember to move their head up and down as well as left and right to expand the field of view.
    *A helmet mounted system is a sure sign your chief really loves you. Who else do you know owns a $25,000 helmet! It s something to brag on!
    *They are heavy on the head.
    *Requires the helmet suspension to be adjusted when transferred from user to user.
    *Great care must be exercised with the break appart battery lead when transfered from wearer to wearer. The battery pack needs to be attached to the new users air pack harness or placed in a pocket.
    *In some cases the view from the helmet system is superior to the handheld units due to better optics.
    *The cable that runs from the helmet to the battery pack is equipped with a breakaway feature that cannot be recoupled in smoke or darkness.
    *Can be connected to a homemade data link for live broadcast outside the structure.
    *The quick disconnect on the battery wire and the eye pieces are the most easily damaged part of the helmet systems.
    *The video rechargeable batteries almost work and require constant attention to the state of charge. Plenty of spares need to be available.

    BLACK AND WHITE OR COLOR?

    Often what is new isn’t necessarily a good thing. That is exactly the case with color imagers. They are confusing and often cloud the real thermal picture. So much extraneous temperature data is displayed in color on the monitor that it is confusing and not a real benefit in search and rescue. The saving grace for both color imagers on the market and a third soon to be released is they offer the ability to switch back and forth to black and white. Where color can be of benefit is descriminating between heat levels in walls and ceilings. The newest models on the market also offer extended battery life. Now 2 1/2 hours is possible. A careful side by side comparison will show dramatic differences in image quality. The most expensive unit does not necessarily have the best picture. Clarity is essental to make out victims and fire extension. The clearer the picture the easier it is to learn to use and descriminate what is important in the view finder. Now at least three imagers offer data link capability and off the shelf commercially available data link companies like Semco RF Products (760) 727-7800 can supply a link to all cameras with a coax port.
    Thermal imaging holds more promise for improved fire protection services than anything other than mandatory fire sprinklers and monitored notification systems. The ability to see through smoke and darkness and see heat through a wall will greatly change the way we conduct our business on scene.

    This is the thermal image of a firefighter in full turnouts wearing a self contained breathing apparatus removing a 3 year girl from her bed. From the time the crew entered the smoke filled 1500 square foot home, located the youngster, and walked back out the door was 2 minutes. What once was difficult and dangerous can become much safer and a lot faster with an imager.

    The same crew used the imager earlier to monitor the effectiveness of a fire sprinkler system in a smoke charged barbecue restaurant. The fire occurred in a strip mall with stores on either side of the fire occupancy. One look through the imager showed 8 heads flowing and the fire appeared to be out. The sprinkler system was shut down and the crew continued to look for any hidden fire. Later the imager was used in the cockloft and finally the roof looking for extension.

    This imager is equipped to a wireless data link that allows the image in the imager to be broadcast to the command unit outside the building. This $1300 to $2500 addition offers crews the security someone outside is monitoring their activities in real time. A video recorder allows all broadcasts to be recorded and used for training or on site review.

    This 12 volt TV allows the command unit to monitor what the imaging crew is doing. This increases commands situational awareness by watching scenes inside the burning structure. The imager in the box next to the TV was used to quickly enter a two story balloon frame fire station that was burning. The first-in unit arrived at the burning station and saw a fire truck from another town sitting unmanned in front of the burning fire house with a 1 1/2” line running into the building. and locate the firefighters inside and remove them. What the firefighters did not know at the time was the station was being used for smoke training at the time. An incinderary grenade was used to make smoke setting the station on fire. Two rookie firefighters from another department were in full gear crawling in the smoke even though the building below them was burning. The instructor was in street clothes wearing an air pack. Command ordered the search crew to locate the people inside and remove them. The imager wearer quickly located the crew and got them out.

    A video tape review on-scene in the back of the command unit of what the search crew saw inside allowed command to formulate a plan to save the historic station. Later images were used to make precautionary vent holes as a precaution but not to open them. Piercing nozzle equipped crews could see the fire travel in the stud walls though the lathe and plaster and cut the fire off before it got to the attic. Opening the cuts would have drawn the fire into the attic. Possibly dooming the building. The stairway had heavy fire under it but the imager let the attack crews know that. They chose another route made by a chain saw to get direct access to the fire through a wall. Additional ground ladders were placed to avoid the damaged stairs.

    Losing the box the imager came in is the first step to insure the unit makes it out of the cab of the truck. The wearer should leave the cab wearing an air pack, handlight, the imager, and a hands free method of communications. This department uses a noise attenuating head set attached to a portable radio to accomplish that goal. The wearer should immediately scan the fire building before entry to get a sense of fire travel. Hazards such as downed wires and or people hanging from windows in heavy smoke will glow and make there presence known visually to the wearer.

    A good secure extinguishment is insured if an imager is used to view all the burned material and look for hot spots. It is surprising how many times an imager will make its presence felt on the fire ground. This style imager was used once to find an Alzheimer patient who walked away from a rest home. After 4 hours of searching the local volunteers were invited to help. In 10 minutes the patient was back at the home.

    Attack and rescue crews will reach the seat of the fire and locate victims in unprecedented speed. Crews will be much more aware of their surroundings. They’ll have a better idea what the fire is doing as well. Fear of the unknown goes with very firefighter entering a smoke filled building. That unknown can instantly be filled with the known.

    This same dual imager equipped crew attacked a structure fire in an old downtown structure. Due to heavy smoke conditions the non-imager equipped attack crew advanced right past the point of fire origin. They ended up above the fire. The fire had been burning for several hours as was evidenced by the completely burnt through 2 by 12 floor joists supporting the floor. The company offer equipped with an imager instantly noticed the fire behind the wall and order water to be applied and withdrew the attack line up stairs. Moments later a king sized bed hole was discovered in the floor above the fire. Carpet and tile was the only support for an unsuspecting attack or rescue crew. The imager allowed a crew to dog a bullet.

    The fire was attacked for over an hour directly above several stores. The structure had received major damage during an earthquake requiring the building to be retrofitted with cables and stars to hold it together. Losing the building would cost one building on each side. One significant exposure below the fire was millions of dollars worth computers. They served as the backup records for an entire statewide chain of banks. The imagers were key to locating fire spread throughout the floor joists. Just the amount of water or foam was applied to do the job. There was almost no water damage to the stores below. Command was able to view the structure from the exterior and contrary to interior reports that the fire was out could see hot spots and reassigned imager equipped companies to hunt down those hidden fires.

    This handheld imager with a price of $11,000 by Texas Instruments and sold by International Safety Instruments (ISI) 888 474-7233 and has a range of 2 miles. It has already saved one life in a structure fire. Much like a video recorder it lacks many of the desirable features of other imagers but as the save proves it can be used successfully with an air pack in a hostile environment. When the local police or sheriff’s office finds out you have one of these things don’t be surprised if they request it, a lot! When they are about to raid a house they like to use it to look through the smoke of their flash bangs. At night they like to look through smoke. When a fellow officer is shot and killed and you suggest they use your toy and find the bad guy with it they might actually say nice things about you!

    This $25,000 imager by EEV is also sold by ISI. It offers thermal and color video viewing capability. It incorporates a helmet and a breathing apparatus facepiece in one unit. These “star wars” looking gadgets are the way of the future. It is difficult to look back on firefighter fatalities in combat and not recall many that the ability to see through smoke could have saved. Would crews continue to pour water on a first floor fire they could see was originating from the basement? Members wouldn’t get lost escaping to change air bottles. Holes in the floor or stairways would be visible. A glowing hot ceiling that was sagging breeds respect. Multiple fire starts and trails would be seen on entry. Food on the stove, a TV on, a cigarette in an ash tray, a cup of hot coffee on a night stand and just about anything you can think of could indicate the possible presence of residents. A quick scan of the couch will indicate a glow if someone was sitting there recently. Beds can be checked the same way. Firefighters of the 90’s fight fire blind. That problem is going away with the investment in imaging.

    Headup displays right out of a fighter plane allow responding apparatus to keep their eyes on the road and look through smoke. Heat plumes at night invisible to the human eye are visible allowing crash rescue crews to find downed aircraft. Wildland firefighters can use the imager to locate terrain obscured fires caused by lightning strikes. A hand held imager can be carried on board an aircraft to search for fires and look for lost citizens.


    Make Model Supplier Phone Number Cost Type Features
    ED Bullard Imager ED Bullard (800)-827-0423 $18,500 Handheld Data link
    Cairns IRIS Cairnes (800) 422-4767. $25,000 Helmet Integral helmet
    GBC Solo Solo TIC ?? ??? $25,000 Helmet helmet and face piece, IR & TV
    Fire Research Lifesight Plus Fire Research (800) 645-0074 $25,000 Handheld TV & IR, color or b & w display , data link, temperature readout
    ISI Vision 2 ISG (888) 474-7233 $18,000 Handheld TV & IR, Data Link
    MSA Argus MSA (800) 645-0074 $18,000 Handheld AA’s
    Texas Instruments Palm IR ISI (888) 474-7233 $11,000 Handheld
    Texas Instruments Night Sight Crash Fire Rescue (972) 243-3307 $8,500 Vehicle mount
    Safetyscan Firescape SafeyScan (716) 827-0796 $18,000 Handheld Data link, color or b & w display, temperature readout
    ISI Vision 3 ISI (888)-474-7233 $22,000 Handheld Data link, temperature readout
    Bullard Bullard The Bullard (800) 827 0423 $18,000 Handheld, radio battery, Data link
    ISG K90 Talisman ISG (877) 733 3473 $18,000 Handheld & helmet TV & IR data link
    Flir Industries (503) 684 3731 $25,000 Helmet b&w color
    Scott Scott Eagle ( 704) 282 8400 $18,000 Handheld B&W


    Agema Infrared Systems
    550 County Ave.
    Secaucus, NJ
    07094
    201-867-5390


    Attic Fires

    Editor's note: This is the second part of the series Fire Attack
    Handbook. The handbook gives an A-Z listing (attics, basements, etc.) of
    fire attack steps. In the last issue, we covered auto fires. Remember to
    read part one again for general rules that pertain to all fires. This
    handbook is a guide to train by and play by. If you have any suggestions
    or constructive criticism, let us know so we can improve the handbook
    for everyone.

    A report of a house fire comes through the volunteers’ pagers. The
    members leave their homes in the dead of night and head for the station.
    The first-in sheriff’s unit reports a fire in the attic of a two-story
    home, and everyone is out and accounted for. As the crew from Truck One
    leaves the station, the company officer spots the ideal hydrant in the
    map book and then scans the fire attack handbook under the heading
    “attic fires.” Normally, a duty officer or chief would arrive first and
    run the call, but this is a holiday and anything is possible. As he
    looks over his shoulder, the company officer sees the super command cab
    is full, with eight guys donning air packs and hooking on their hand
    lights. Long ago his department got out of the habit of waiting to see
    what was burning and always arrives with everyone fully dressed with
    masks on. He slips into his air pack harness and dons his imaging
    helmet.

    He turns around and starts giving crew assignments, even though each
    member is sitting in a seat with preassigned duties determined long ago.
    He reminds two members that they are the attack team. One is supposed to
    carry the irons and act as a backup man, and one gets the nozzle. He
    assigns two rookies the job of throwing salvage covers. One firefighter
    is assigned positive pressure ventilation and told to meet the company
    officer inside when he is finished. Another member is told to bring the
    6’ piercing nozzle and a 1” line in. One is told to catch the hydrant
    and then report to the engineer. Another is told to kill the power to
    the house and fill all top floor rooms with floodlights. The company
    officer will support the attack line and take up a 5’ hook. He reminds
    the engineer that he wants compressed air foam in the 1” line and to get
    ground ladders to windows on at least two sides, as other members arrive
    on scene.

    As they approach the fire area, smoke can be seen hanging in the
    neighborhood. When they pull up to a hydrant, a volunteer is already
    waiting. The officer turns around and tells the hydrant man, “Stay on
    board--you’re my extra man.” He then yells out the window to drop a 5”
    line. Just then he hears Engine Two responding with a crew of eight.
    Before the unit pulls away from the hydrant, the engineer has already
    engaged the pto pump, the aerial, the compressor and the generator. He
    has also flipped on 12,000 watts of floodlights. The company officer
    takes a look at the building through his helmet-mounted imager and can
    see heat buildup in the attic and a glowing wall on the next-door
    neighbor's house. He then gives his condition report, “Dispatch: Truck
    One on-scene, 111 Allen Court. I’m transferring the Allen IC to Engine
    Two. We have a two-story frame dwelling with fire showing from a
    second-story window on the left side and extension into the attic space.
    We have an exposure threatened on that same side. No other structures
    are threatened. We’re laying in, starting an interior attack and
    covering exposures. Have Engine Two come straight in for manpower and
    start a side wall vent.”

    He waits for dispatch to confirm his size up and then goes to work. The
    engineer positions the turntable, using the side-facing
    million-candle-power spotlight directly over the front door. At the same
    time, the officer directs his in-the-cab-controlled deck gun onto the
    wall of the exposure. He opens his foam water valve until just 100 gpm
    shows on the flow meter. He widens the pattern and the exposure
    disappears under a coating of foam. He leaves the nozzle flowing and
    dismounts.

    The officer then ensures that each member of his crew goes about his
    assigned task. He tells the extra man to get a hook and take out a
    window on either side of the window blowing flames. A 1” and 2” attack
    line and a blower are waiting at the front door. The officer joins his
    crew at the front door just as the power goes out inside. As the crew
    begins the attack, it notices the last occupant to leave had locked the
    front door. The irons man makes quick work of the door, and the attack
    line moves up the stairs, illuminated by the 500-watt cord light
    advancing with them. When they make the landing, the officer instructs
    the crew to take out the fire in the bedroom. The salvage crew throws a
    runner behind the attack crew and then is ordered to cover the rooms on
    each side of the fire room. The 1” line with the piercing nozzle tip is
    inserted into the hall ceiling right where the imager says it is the
    hottest and starts blowing foam. In seconds, the fire room darkens. The
    1” line is repositioned to an adjoining room. The blower man reports to
    the officer for an assignment and is told to find the crawl space. The
    attack line is operating in a full fog out the window in an effort to
    clear the second floor of smoke. The rookies are already on their second
    pair of salvage covers. The 1” line is then moved to the next room.
    Because the line is shooting “shaving cream,” ceiling collapse does not
    occur. The company officer announces on the radio that he has knockdown.

    Meanwhile, outside the engineer has connected his supply line, called
    for water and is busy raising the aerial to the roof. When he sees the
    interior companies have achieved knockdown, he shuts down the deck gun.
    The floodlight man has a light in each upstairs room and is now helping
    the hydrant man place 1,500-watt tripods on each corner at the rear of
    the house.

    Engine three arrives with 16,000 watts of floodlights blazing. Two
    members are assigned to throw a ladder and one to get a saw. The three
    of them start removing the side wall. Three are assigned rapid
    intervention team duties and pull a 2” line, a saw, a hand-held thermal
    imager and assorted entry tools to the front door. The engineer lets the
    IC know that his company officer wants one ladder on at least two sides
    of the house, and the IC gives the engineer two guys to do the job. A
    ladder is then placed under each open window.

    The company officer sticks his head into the crawl space and takes a
    look around with the imager. All he sees is a cool mass. Two
    firefighters using a hand-held imager crawl into the attic with a 1”
    line and look for hot spots just as the side wall falls away. The
    company officer rotates half his crew outside to change bottles and take
    a blow. They will be going back into the attic later to haul out the
    fire debris. The company officer takes a walk around the dwelling
    looking for extension with the imager and then gives the IC a condition
    report. Although they are volunteers, this crew was able to staff their
    apparatus to capacity and have invested in technology wherever possible
    to get the most bang for the buck.

    The Three-Person Crew

    The company officer can remember just a few years ago when only three
    guys would respond on an engine, and only one or two would have air
    packs on arrival. Let’s take a look at the same fire with a crew of
    three and the second-in company of three four minutes away, using
    standard firefighting practice. The engine leaves the station, and the
    company officer tells the engineer to operate the pump and the hydrant
    man to drop a line. A condition report is given on arrival. The company
    officer works under the light of two 500-watt floodlights if the
    engineer had time to start the generator, turn the poles and throw the
    switch. He pulls a line to the front door and waits for the hydrant man
    to begin the attack. The hydrant man is already shot from running a
    block and a half in full gear from the hydrant. They find the front door
    locked, and one man leaves the line to get the irons. The crew then goes
    in to the house with the power still on, and they let the room on the
    second floor have it.

    About this time, the second-in unit arrives and sees fire through the
    roof; the neighboring home is also burning. A line is pulled to address
    the exposure as the engineer from the second-in unit hooks a supply line
    to the first-in unit. One member of the attack crew calls for a hook so
    they can start pulling ceiling. Eventually the hook arrives and the
    crews start pulling ceiling and spraying water. Every drop that goes up
    comes back down with the ceiling material, destroying everything on the
    second floor because the salvage covers are still on the unit.
    Eventually the debris finds its way to first floor belongings. Soon the
    air pack alarms sound, and the crew is forced from the building. By this
    time additional units are on scene to finish the job.

    Everything takes a little bit longer with a smaller crew because there
    are fewer hands to go around. With insufficient lighting, things are not
    as clear as they should be. Without supporting the attack with
    ventilation, the home sustains more damage, and the crews take a bit
    more of a beating. Everyone has to work harder. It is possible the
    first-in unit might not have laid a supply line, forcing the second-in
    company to do so. This simply would have delayed the line to the
    exposure and possibly resulted in the first-in company running out of
    water. It cannot be stated strongly enough that it takes a bunch of
    firefighters to perform on the fireground. Lathe and plaster ceilings
    simply make life harder. Ten and 12’ ceilings found in
    turn-of-the-century homes delay knockdown and push crews even harder.
    The mix of technology, tactics and people makes the difference between
    what is saved and what is lost.

    Attic Fires

    1.Position Command Unit in command location. 2.Size-up situation and
    determine where the fire is going. 3.Give condition report. 4.Order up
    any additional resources, i.e., rehab, etc. 5.Lay supply lines or secure
    water supply. 6.Don SCBA and protective clothing. 7.Walk around
    structure. 8.Hand out appropriate ID vests. 9.Cover exposures with 1
    3/4” bomb line, or deck gun. Get in front of the fire. 10.Assign
    ventilation crews. 11.Assign forcible entry crews. 12.Assign search
    crews with laser. 13.Assign attack crew. 14.Ventilate via positive
    pressure, then remove side walls. (Be sure the utilities are off.) 15.If
    visible flame is showing from roof, pull attack line--1 3/4” minimum--or
    use the deck gun. Give the roof a short blast of water in a spray
    stream. If you get steam, you probably have an attic fire. Steam will
    indicate the area of highest heat. If you don’t have an attic fire, your
    roof will be knocked down. 16.Advance attack line to uppermost floor, 1
    3/4” minimum. If there is a great deal of fire, put a third person on
    the hose line for safety. (Get the piercing nozzle inside as soon as
    possible.) 17.Throw salvage covers as soon as possible. 18.Use a thermal
    imaging camera to find fire areas by aiming it at the ceiling and
    surrounding area. 19.Stick a piercing nozzle into the ceiling where the
    infrared detector indicates to steam the fire. (Make sure all utilities
    are off.) 20.Continue operation until fire is knocked down. 21.Place
    salvage covers. 22.Pull back-up line, 1 3/4” minimum. 23.Pull ceiling.
    24.Find attic scuttle hole or make one. 25.Overhaul the fire.

    Consider: If a thermal imaging camera and piercing nozzle are not
    available, items 18-23 change.

    18. Get pike poles, plaster hook and attic ladders to highest floor. Be
    sure that a 1 3/4" line is in place.
    19a. Vent attic, eves or roof over fire. (Be sure that all utilities are
    off.)
    19b. Vent roof in front of fire on both sides after roof has been vented
    over fire.

    Consider: With today's new construction, standard ventilation practices
    may not be the method of choice. Sidewall ventilation is probably
    preferred.

    20. Pull ceiling in front of fire, and knockdown the fire.
    21. Place salvage covers.
    22. Pull backup line.
    23. Pull ceiling.
    24. Set up for exterior attack.

    Consider: Some departments have found great success dropping a cellar
    nozzle into the vent hole on buildings with large attics via aerial
    ladder.

    25. Overhaul the fire.


    Basement Fires

    Let an Imager Lead the Way

    Editor’s note: This is another in a series of chapters in the Fire
    Attack Handbook. This guide is designed to give a step-by-step process
    to attack common types of fires.

    Nobody likes a basement fire. I never heard any firefighter yearn for a
    hot smoky fire with three or four floors exposed and no way to locate
    the seat of the fire. We like to see the flames and go get them.
    Climbing down stairs to a fire is like Santa going down the chimney with
    the fireplace cooking. Worse yet, you might get downstairs and not be
    able to get back up due to the heat wave. Basement fires require command
    to set up for interior and exterior operations simultaneously. Either
    you make a quick interior stop or the entire building is going to be
    history and will it will be addressed with master streams.

    About the time you know the interior attack failed, all the air packs on
    scene are out of air. Balloon frame construction ensures the fire will
    find the attic (see "Attic Fires" Firefighter’s News, October/November
    ‘96), and extensive spread through the stud channels on all floors is a
    sure thing. It is not uncommon to see a fully involved dwelling 20 to 40
    minutes into interior operations. These are the fires where staffing of
    two and three per company doesn’t work. You need lots of help rolling
    real soon. Not many departments do well on these types of fires.

    One Sunday, just after noon, companies were dispatched to a report of a
    house fire. The first-in company, Engine 1 with a crew of three,
    reported on-scene at 921 Heron, establishing Heron IC. "We have a
    three-story frame dwelling, with smoke showing on all floors, and no
    exposures. We’re stretching a supply line and pulling an attack line to
    try and determine the location of the fire. Engine 2 and Truck 1, I want
    you to commit to search and vent operations. Dispatch, sound a second
    alarm and recall off-duty firefighters." The second alarm and recall
    would bring a total response of five engines, two trucks and 21 to 35
    firefighters, depending on the number of off-duty members in town.

    Engine 1 dropped an unmanned 4" supply line from the hydrant, per SOPs,
    and positioned to the left of the fire building, leaving the front of
    the building open for arriving truck companies. As the company officer
    stepped off the rig, the situation appeared to be a smoky ground-floor
    fire. As he approached the kitchen door, the sound was obvious: The
    basement was rocking. Having seen this movie a few times before, he knew
    the first attack line had to be taken through the kitchen door.

    Battalion Chief 2 two arrived on Engine 1’s tail and scanned the house
    with his $8,500 vehicle-mounted thermal imager. Through the smoke and
    walls, he could see that the fire owned a large portion of the basement
    and was traveling up the studs to the first and second floors. The
    engine compartment of the station wagon in the driveway was still hot.

    BC-2 met with E-1’s captain and took command, making E-1 the interior
    sector officer. Their game plan was to see if they could cut off the
    fire spread up the stairs so a quick search could be made through the
    rest of the home.

    Engine 1’s crew advanced a 1 3/4" line with a pump pressure of 200 psi.
    The engineer became a member of the three-man hose crew. A quick strike
    on the door with the halligan didn’t accomplish a thing. Several more
    blows, and it still didn’t budge. One crew member said, "swing at the
    upper hinges. We might have someone behind the door." The door laid down
    over the victims behind it. The fire was already roaring over the crew’s
    heads in the kitchen as it left the stairway opening. The crew opened up
    on the fire with the attack line and then slammed the stairway door to
    keep the fire in the basement. The nozzleman knocked out the lowest of
    the panels on the six panel door and opened the nozzle all the way. The
    two victims were dragged from the room. The attack was stalled with all
    but one of the firefighters working on the victims. BC-2 requested two
    ambulances and gave an update to responding companies.

    Engine 3 arrived with two of its crew in breathing apparatus. BC-2
    ordered the pair to make a quick search of the house with an imager
    under the cover of the 1 3/4" line covering the stairs. Then they were
    to get out.

    For several minutes, the fire grew and the rescue crew flew through the
    structure. Fire blew out all three basement windows on the left and rear
    of the building. BC-2 kept in constant radio communications with the
    attack line and the search crew checking for heat levels and progress,
    advising them of the fire’s spread.

    E-3 arrived, laying a line. The crew was ordered to take a line to cover
    the flames blowing out the window(the autoexposure) on the outside and
    advance a 2 1/2" line to the interior.

    One member of Truck 1 would open the remaining basement windows and the
    outside door. The other two members would help with the attack line.
    Engine 4 stopped at the hydrant to turn it on for E-1 and then laid its
    own line from the same plug. They were then assigned to set up for
    exterior attack if the interior attack failed. With low air bottle
    alarms wailing, Engine 3’s crew left the building carrying a lifeless
    infant.

    E-3’s crew, under the protection of E-1’s line, started down the stairs,
    pushing fire in front of them. Their nozzle was blowing 300 gpm in a
    narrow-to-wide fog pattern. The flames pushed out the basement windows
    under incredible pressure, keeping the exterior line busy and the flame
    from extending up the exterior wall.

    Truck 4 and Engine 5 arrived and were given the task of opening the roof
    and checking for extension throughout the building. A piercing nozzle
    was used where ever the fire was found with the imager to eliminate the
    step of opening up. Eventually the walls would be opened, but not under
    such urgent heavy smoke conditions. It would take several hours and
    almost 100 air bottles to chase down all of the hidden fire.

    The same fire without the imagers occurs each day. In some cases, not
    knowing the fire was below them has caused firefighter fatalities. Would
    you dare send a crew above a fire crawling on their hands and knees
    without truck company or attack line support? Would the search simply be
    a race to see who runs out of air first? Do you really think you can
    search a three-floor, 3,600-square-foot home and find anything with a
    30-minute bottle? Imagers offer many of the answers to this type of
    firefighting.

    Basement Fires Checklist

    1. Position Command Unit in command location
    2. Size-up situation, determine where the fire is going (use imager)
    3. Give condition report
    4. Lay supply lines or secure a water supply
    5. Don SCBA and protective clothing
    6. Walk around structure
    7. Hand out appropriate ID vests
    8. Assign search crews with imager.
    9. Assign ventilation crews.
    10. Assign forcible entry crews.
    11. Assign attack crews.
    12. Order-up any additional resources (RIC, rehab, etc.)
    13. Ventilate when attack crew is ready via windows and charge home with
    blowers.
    14. Take attack line, 1 3/4" minimum(foam on), to the stairway and hold
    the fire. Close basement door, if one is available.
    15. If small fire, go downstairs and knock it down; if not, keep pushing
    the fire down.
    16. Start primary search upstairs.
    17. Pull back-up line, 1 3/4" minimum, to stairway door (crew should be
    imager equipped).
    18. If you can hold your bare hand over your head, attack the fire via
    stairs and push fire out basement windows. Always leave a firefighter
    with a radio at the top of the stairs to monitor stairway survivabilty.
    If stairway conditions do not allow interior attack, go to an exterior
    attack or piercing or cellar nozzle attack through the floor. Vent roof
    here needed.
    19. Set up for exterior attack with for cellar/piercing nozzle attack
    should interior attack fail.
    20. Pull back-up line for fire extension to upper floors.
    21. Conduct primary basement search.
    22. Search attic for fire extension use imager.
    23. Secondary search all floors.
    24. Overhaul.

  4. #4
    TIMan
    Firehouse.com Guest

    Post

    Below is a listing of thermal imaging reference material. I hope it will help anyone interrested in purchasing or using a thermal imager. I can not endorse the articles but they are an excellent reference source. If you know of any material not listed here or you see an error please drop me an e-mail.

    Thermal Imaging Reference Material

    <------------------------------------->

    Articles

    Disaster Management
    Thermal imaging improves success of search and rescue operations
    Smith, D. pgs 100-102 1994
    MCE University Press Ltd. Birmingham, AL

    Emergency
    Piercing the smoke
    Siuru, W. pgs. 61-62 3 / 96
    Bobbit Publishing Co. Redondo Beach, CA

    Fire
    Visions of safety for firefighters
    Leckie, L. pg. 398 1996
    FMJ Int. Publishing Ltd. Redhill Surey, England

    Fire
    Has the service been slow to seize the potential offered by thermal imaging
    Wallington, N. pgs.XXI-XXII 6 / 98
    FMJ Int. Publishing Ltd. Redhill Surey, England

    Fire
    Thermal cameras can help closed-space firefighting
    Lyons, J. pg.25 6 / 96
    FMJ Int. Publishing Ltd. Redhill Surey, England

    Fire
    Thermal imaging camera helped to save a historic home
    6 / 87
    FMJ Int. Publishing Ltd. Redhill Surey, England

    Fire
    Right first time : Thermal imaging cameras in action
    McNeill, P. pg. 15 7 / 97
    FMJ Int. Publishing Ltd. Redhill Surey, England

    Fire Chief
    Thermal imaging cameras offer improved visibility at emergency scenes
    Stevens, L. pg. 74 11 / 91
    Primedia Intertec Overland Park, KS

    Fire Engineering
    Thermal imaging for the fire service, Part 1 : The basics of thermal imaging
    Woodworth, S. pgs. 22-26 7 / 96
    Pennwell Publishing Tulsa, OK

    Fire Engineering
    Thermal imaging for the fire service, Part 2 : The electromagnetic spectrum
    Woodworth, S. pgs. 24-26 8 / 96
    Pennwell Publishing Tulsa, OK

    Fire Engineering
    Thermal imaging for the fire service, Part 3 : Thermal characteristics
    Woodworth, S. pgs. 22-26 11 / 96
    Pennwell Publishing Tulsa, OK

    Fire Engineering
    Thermal imaging for the fire service, Part 4 : Thermal imaging devices
    Woodworth, S. pgs. 16-18 2 / 97
    Pennwell Publishing Tulsa, OK

    Fire Engineering
    Thermal imaging for the fire service, Part 5 : Tactics for fire attack
    Woodworth, S. pgs. 16-21 3 / 97
    Pennwell Publishing Tulsa, OK

    Fire Engineering
    Thermal imaging for the fire service, Part 6 : The search
    Woodworth, S. pgs. 24-27 8 / 97
    Pennwell Publishing Tulsa, OK

    Fire Engineers Journal
    Towards a greater understanding of the theory and practice of thermal imaging
    Humpoletz, C. Leckie, L. pgs. 41-44 11/98
    Institution of Fire Engineers Leicester, England

    Fire Engineers Journal
    Thermal imaging : a changing approach
    Lyons, J. Parmenter, G. pgs. 7-8 9 / 95
    Institution of Fire Engineers Leicester, England

    Firefighters News
    A question of vision
    Stevens, L. pg. 6 10:11 / 96
    Jems Communications Carlsbad, CA

    Firehouse
    Thermal Imaging Cameras
    Cogan, M. pg. 38 2 / 92
    Cygnus Publishing Melville, NY

    Firehouse
    Thermal cameras Q & A
    McLaughlin, J. pg. 37 2 / 92
    Cygnus Publishing, Melville, NY

    Firehouse
    Seeing in the dark
    Kosiarski, J. pg. 48 11 / 93
    Cygnus Publishing Melville, NY

    Firehouse
    Filed test report : infrared imaging for the fire service
    Woodworth, S. pgs. 81-82 6 / 95 Cygnus Publishing Melville, NY

    Fire-Rescue Magazine
    Can you see through smoke? Part 1
    pgs. 38-45 4 / 98
    Jems Communications Carlsbad, CA

    Fire-Rescue Magazine
    Imager saves firefighters, money well spent on Granbury, Texas, Fire Department Editorial pgs.17-18 2 / 99
    Jems Communications Carlsbad, CA

    Fire-Rescue Magazine
    See your way clear
    Stevens, L. pg. 8 2 / 99
    Jems Communications Carlsbad, CA

    Fire-Rescue Magazine
    Basement fires : let an imager led the way
    pgs. 103-104 7 / 97
    Jems Communications Carlsbad, CA

    Fire-Rescue Magazine
    Thermal imaging camera assists in rescue
    Jakubowski, G. pg. 75 1 / 99
    Jems Communications Carlsbad, CA

    Fire-Rescue Magazine
    Image is everything, Part 2
    pgs. 68-79 5 / 98
    Jems Communications Carlsbad, CA

    Industrial Fire World
    Visionary technology
    Love, J. pg.33 3:4 / 99
    Industrial Fire World College Station, TX

    Industrial Fire World
    Eyes wide open
    Colley, K. pgs. 19 -21 3:4 / 99
    Industrial Fire World College Station, TX

    National Fire & Rescue
    Working with a TIC
    Wagner, M. West, P. 3:4 / 98
    SpecComm International

    National Fire & Rescue
    Thermal imaging cameras, The next generation
    Towle, L. pgs. 23-29 5:6 / 99 SpecComm International

    National Fire & Rescue
    Technology from the war zone, thermal imaging, saving lives in the hot zone
    Wagner, M. West, P. 32-38 3:4 / 98
    SpecComm International

    WNYF
    Seeing in the dark
    Gallagher, J. pgs. 22-23 1991
    FDNY Training Academy Brooklyn, NY

    <---------------------------------->

    Reports / Papers

    Thermal imaging for the fire service
    Nygren 1997
    Maine Fire Training and Education, Bangor ME

    An examination of the use of thermal imaging cameras in the fire and rescue services
    Patterson, T. 22 pages 8 / 97
    NFA Executive Fire Officer Research Paper #27654

    Thermal imaging evaluation for the fire service
    Carnegis, J. 62 pages 1 / 99
    NFA Executive Fire Officer Research Paper #29223

    Impact of thermal imaging technology on future fire department operations
    Pleasants, D. 1 / 98
    NFA Executive Fire Officer Research Paper

    Thermal imaging, fad, gadget, or revolutionary change
    Ezzie, J. 12 / 97
    NFA Executive Fire Officer Research Paper

    The marketing of thermal imaging cameras, great expectations
    Franz, T. 9 / 98
    NFA Executive Fire Officer Research Paper

    <--------------------------------->

    Video Tapes

    American Heat
    Infrared sensor technology 5 / 95 Carrollton, TX

  5. #5
    cwerner
    Firehouse.com Guest

    Post

    Diane,

    Our department has just purchased its 5th camera which equips all of our first due engines and trucks with thermal imagers. Since we do not have the problems with large forest fires and the like, our uses have been limited to structural firefighting, search and rescue, and hazardous materials (check levels of substance within a container).

    We tested the Bullard, Fire Research, and ISI. We did not test a helmet mount as we did not wish to have it limited to one helmet. At the time, Cairns was the only helmet mount available and from discussions with other departments who had them, there were mixed feelings. Some were very happy, while others thought they might have tried a handheld. The earlier versions were somewhat awkward, very narrow viewing screen and too time consuming to make quick changes. Some of the later versions have probably managed some of those issues. The FireFLIR is the first one that seems to have an idea of balancing the helmet and limiting the excessive attachments necessary.

    I am still a believer in our Bullard, it was the most durable, it was all self contained (even including the transmitter). A firefighter only has to know on/off. No fancy gimmicks, etc. just plain "see through the smoke" technology. Our guys love it. On top of that, we use the transmitter to view what is happening inside a bldg and with multiple channels, its easy to switch and see what two cameras are doing in separate areas. It has also been great in training. We can watch and see what they see, it makes safety a bigger factor. Most departments surrounding us have recently bought the "bull" as its called now. When the sales guy came to our department, he literally dropped it - what did the others say - no we dont do that with our camera but the Bull took it and worked like a champ. Also, its transmission capabilities outworked the rest by far, a clear and crisp signal/picture and a larger view screen sold us. If there are any specific questions, please feel free to contact me:

    Charles L. Werner, Battalion Chief
    Charlottesville Fire Department
    cwerner@cstone.net

    ------------------

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