Nothing works better to get support and funding than to show the public exactly what a thermal imaging camera can do. PR work with the public will go a long, and the manufactures and distributors should be willing to help you with demo units and supporting materials.
Of course the biggest impact comes when you can give them a real life example of how a thermal imager has helped to save a life. That being the case, if you know of actual incident where an imager is credited with helping to save the life of a firefighter or civilian post some information on it here. That way our brothers and sister can use them for PR work, and I am sure we can all learn something from them as well.
I have compiled information on number of incidents and will post the basic info here. Let’s get it out right up front, a save is a save, it does not matter what type of imager it was. The key issue is they all help to save lives (and many of them will be our own)and that is what the public needs to know about.
Good Luck, Be Safe,
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10-14-1999, 02:55 PM #1TIManFirehouse.com Guest
Do you know about a lifesave? Post it here.
10-15-1999, 12:42 AM #2e33Firehouse.com Guest
Bethesda-Chevy Chase Rescue Squad (Md.) had a save...with the Cairns Iris..not sure when..but it was a few years ago. Made front cover of Fire-Rescue Magazine
10-15-1999, 12:40 PM #3IRallthewayFirehouse.com Guest
A little girl was saved in Caldwell, ID about 5 or 6 months ago with a IRIS system. Not exactly sure on the dates.
10-16-1999, 10:55 PM #4TIManFirehouse.com Guest
As promised here are the saves. As more thermal imagers get into the hands of departments and they become proficient at using them these should become more common place. A thermal imager does not make you invincible or guarantee you will find every victim alive, but they will be a tremendous improvement.
(most of these are from the newspaper or a press release, so please forgive the elaborate descriptions)
Charlottesville Fire Department
Contact : Batt. Chief Charles Werner
Man Rescued From House Fire
When Charlottesville Firefighter Mike Oprandy forced open the door of the burning house, the smoke was so thick that he might as well have had his eyes shut. Somewhere in that house was Jesse Wicks, and Oprandy knew that he would find him.
Crawling along the floor with his camera, Oprandy searched the first level of the structure in less than a minute in zero visibility. Oprandy and another firefighter, Clinton Wingfield, moved swiftly to second level of the home, finding the stairs easily with the camera. When they forced open the door at the top of the stairs, Wicks was found on his bed. Firefighters safely removed him to the fresh air outside.
Battalion Chief Charles L. Werner said thermal imaging technology was critical in saving the 43 year-old man’s life. “Without the camera, it would have taken us five minutes to search through the thick smoke before going to the second floor. And after five minutes, Mr. Wicks would have suffered serious injury and most likely would have died from smoke inhalation.”
July 8, 1999
Delta Township, Michigan
Delta Township Fire Department
Contact : Fire Marshall Paul Fabiano
TI Helps Three Michigan Firefighters Avoid Fall
At 1 a.m. on July 8, Michigan’s Delta Township Fire Department responded to a call about a fire at a ranch style house just outside of Lansing city limits. When firefighters arrived, the structure was filled with heavy smoke, and the fire was burning through the roof. Firefighters were uncertain about whether anyone was trapped inside.
Fire Marshall Paul Fabiano led with a Thermal Imager, accompanied by firefighters David Boomer and Kevin Leverett from the department’s rescue company. Initial entry was made through the garage. Karyn Hester, Geoffrey Larsen, and Mike Martin followed behind with a hoseline to protect the team and their escape route.
“The kitchen was black with smoke, so we couldn’t see anything without the camera,” Fabiano said. “When I scanned the floor, I saw that the first part of the kitchen floor was still intact, but the center of the floor was completely gone. So we turned around and made entry through the front door.”
Fabiano continued, “Firefighters are trained to "sound" or test the floor while crawling along. In the heat of the excitement and the with the possibility of trapped people, the firefighters may have hurried and actually gone through the floor.” It is also possible that the extra warning time and distance made a difference in preventing someone from going through the weekend floor.
October 9, 1999
Franklin Fire Department
Contact : Captain Mike Herron
Toddler Pulled From Blaze
“That camera is what saved my son’s life.”
Two year-old Zachary Sheets was lying face down in the hallway outside of his bedroom, barely breathing, when firefighters found him. This little boy probably would have died if firefighters hadn’t been equipped with a Thermal Imaging Camera that enabled them to see through smoke to find him so quickly.
Zachary’s 3 and 4 year-old brothers had started a fire in his bedroom closet with a cigarette lighter while their father, Christopher Sheets, was asleep. After Sheets discovered the fire, he evacuated his two older sons but was unable to retrieve the youngest because he couldn’t navigate through the thick smoke that had permeated the house.
When firefighters arrived on the scene, flames were shooting out of the front windows, and the structure was filled with black smoke. Firefighters Tim Coble and Mark Hash rushed in and began searching with their Thermal Imaging Camera. Within seconds, they saw the heat signature of Zachary’s body on the screen of their camera and quickly removed the toddler from the house.
Zachary’s father credits the thermal imaging camera for saving Zachary’s life. “That camera is what saved my son’s life,” Sheets said. “I was in a state of panic. I didn’t know what to do. Friends of mine had gone in and tried to find Zachary. And they were five feet from him and couldn’t see him. When the fire department got there, they were in and out in 30 seconds.”
October 1, 1999
Abbotsford Fire and Rescue Service
Contact : Captain Dean Larivee
Canadian Firefighters Avoid Risk And Find Accident Victim
Firefighters in the Abbotsford Fire and Rescue Service in this community outside of Vancouver had just returned from fighting a house fire on October 1 when they got a call about a car running off a road into a drainage ditch just outside of Abbotsford.
Firefighters arrived on the scene about 20 minutes after the accident. After they identified the location of the partially-submerged car, they scanned the vehicle with the Thermal Imaging Camera they had borrowed from their fire distributor, Wildfire Fire Equipment. The image on the screen showed heat from the engine block and handprints leading off the roof of the car. They immediately knew that a victim had pulled themselves out of the vehicle.
Scanning the bank, firefighters could see a heat trail of footprints leading away from the car. A few minutes later, the victim was found further down the road from the accident site. The victim confirmed no one else was in the vehicle
Captain Dean Larivee commented on the use of the camera. “We all think of thermal imaging cameras as tools for firefighting, but they can be used for just about anything that involves heat. We learned from that incident that thermal imagers are also very good rescue tools.
“The fact that we quickly victim and learned that no one was in the car allowed us to avoid sending one of our own guys into the water to search – so we avoided the danger involved with conducting an underwater search,” Larivee said. “We ordered our own camera the next week.”
Midland Fire Department
Thermal Imaging Camera Helps To Save Two Elderly Women From A Raging Fire
Two Midland sisters were in critical condition late Monday following a fire that erupted in their home at 417 E. Elm Street earlier in the day. Neomi Brown and her sister Pearly Harris were flown to Lubbock's University Medical Center Monday afternoon after emergency personnel at Midland Memorial Hospital said the two women were suffering from massive smoke inhalation.
The house was totally involved in flames following an explosion that occurred when Ms. Brown entered the burning home, according to Assistant Fire Marshal Jeff Meiner. Meiner said seven fire units were dispatched to the fire to fight the roaring blaze. Shortly after arriving on the scene at about 11:30 a.m., Midland firefighter Karl Staggs discovered the first of the two women - Ms. Brown - with a thermal imaging camera, which reads different heat signatures from both animate and inanimate objects. He had been told that at least two people were in the burning house as he and his partner, Marlin Seider, began their sweep of the home. They started down a hallway where they quickly found Ms. Brown unconscious and lying huddled on the floor. "When we brought her out, they (witnesses at the scene) told us there was possibly another victim," Staggs said. "We went back into the area where we found the first woman and, using the camera, found the other one."
Good Luck, Be Safe,
10-20-1999, 01:15 AM #5cp-nyFirehouse.com Guest
Last week we had a strange call. A local farmer had a silo fire. I called Farmedic to get some info on what to do. They recommended we bring in a thermal imaging camera. Dispatch located one in Union Center, NY about 45 minutes away. They were kind enough to bring it up for us and give us a thermal image which was recorded on video tape.
While there, they told us about an incident a couple of months ago. They were en route to a training drill when they came upon a structure fire outside their district. They jumped out and asked if anyone was inside the building. The answer was yes, but location unknown. The house was filled with smoke. They entered the house with the TIC and found the man asleep on a couch on the second floor. They were certain that the TIC (Bullard model) saved the man's life.
Thanks for all these postings. I am going to certainly use the information to get our community to fund a purchase. We are a very small community, but one life is worth it!
I understand the camera we saw at the silo fire has a range of 500 yards. Sounds like an excellent tool for search & rescue.
10-20-1999, 04:35 PM #6cwernerFirehouse.com Guest
As mentioned in an earlier message, Charlottesville VA Firefighters did have a safe.
We have undergone extensive training, which is key to successful and safe implementation of this new technology. After our brief experiences, our department has equipped each first due engine and truck with thermal image cameras. Its not a luxury, its a necessity. As you have seen, the type of device is secondary but the possession and use of thermal imaging is a primary need for every department.
What better tool than this that opens the eyes of firefighters in what was otherwise a grim darkness. To be able to see the unseen fire with a potential flashover or to see a fallen firefighter or other victim. This time is critical to the safety of those we serve and to those that work alongside.
Any department that is seeking addl info can visit our website as we have posted our Thermal Image Camera SOP for everyone to reference, use, modify to help spread the awareness and info about these so worthy new tools.
Stay safe and let your firefighters eyes be OPENED IN THE DARKNESS because without this technology your firefighters are working with their "EYES WIDE SHUT".
Charles Werner, Battalion Chief
Charlottesville VA Fire Department
Firehouse.com Technical Advisor
11-23-1999, 03:31 PM #7TIManFirehouse.com Guest
This topic disappered off of the current activity list so I am posting this here to bring it back up because there was a topic refereing to it.
I hope someone else can add some more info to it or the other topic on the uses for TIs.
Good Luck, Be Safe,
11-30-1999, 10:58 PM #8Dale SaucierFirehouse.com Guest
I am from Franklin, Indiana, we had a save with Bullard TIC in Oct. 2 yo boy from burning residence. Boy has been released from hospital, day before Thanksgiving, still recovering from 2nd degree over 70%. I have coordinated the fundraising for the camera. Long road but we ordered second camera for Fire Station #2 today. Well worth the money. FF's Hash and Coble received Heroism Awards from local Chamber of Commerce for their actions. Thank you FF/EMT Dale Saucier
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