Thread: FIRE FLIR
11-07-1999, 05:57 AM #1CHRIS FOLLETTFirehouse.com Guest
Does anyone know of any FireFLIR
purchases by any departments?Also any
feedback on the FLIR. A salesman came
to our department several months
ago,and for the most part just about
everyone was impressed with what the
FLIR had to offer. It just seems that
helmet mounts are the smartest choice,I
agree that you will gain your sight
back in bad conditions with both types
of camaras. But is it really worth it
to take away a arm,especially when it
might be the one that has to drag you
out. Thanks for all the useful info.
11-07-1999, 08:00 AM #2S. CookFirehouse.com Guest
Don't buy the hype, the 'taking away' of an arm is just helmet mount salesman talk.
The handhelds are more versital:
- You can move it around to see what you want, even if your head won't go there.
- You're looking directly infront of you instead of 3 or 4 inches to the right.
- Your neck doesn't feel like you've been wearing a bell when you take it off.
- You can put it down when you want/need too.
- When the smoke clears and it's time for Salvge and OH, you don't need to go outside and change your helmet like you do with one type.
If helmet mounts were that much better, they would outsell handhelds - they don't. Handhelds outsell helmet mounts by far.
11-07-1999, 08:47 AM #3Eng 48Firehouse.com Guest
I personaly don't like the helmet mounted cameras. When you did the demo, was it in a live burn condition? We had problems with two helmet mounted cameras in a live burn situation. The screen on the FLIR is positioned towards the top of your mask, and that is the part of the mask that fogs up first. I'd stick with a backlit type handheld unit. With these units, even the rest of your crew behind you can see the screen. Good luck with your purchase.
Be safe everyone!
11-07-1999, 09:23 AM #4Jeff801Firehouse.com Guest
I did not like the FLIR for several reasons. I do not believe in adding 4.4 lbs of gear to a helmet, this causes unneeded stress to the head and neck.
The FLIR's viewing screen is optimal when viewing on a level line of sight. I found the picture to become useless if the unit shifted.
If you are not wearing a SCBA mask then the unit basically becomes a hand held because it tends to shift downwards due to the helmet with a hood underneath, not staying constantly secured.
We parchased a Demo Bullard with all the "whistles and bells", (video remote) for less than the cost of just a new camera. We love the training and fireground uses. The video link is GREAT for Public displays and open houses.
I also like the ISG handheld, the ISI unit (second version only), and the Scott unit. The Cairns Viper (with the newest Technology) is awesome to look at, I am still leary of Cairns because of their usual rush to the market with minimal fireground field testing. I am still bitter over the early IRIS pricing.
I support S.Cooks position 100%. There are many units on the market which could meet your needs. PLEASE, do not rush out and buy one without a full evaluation of current and future needs. This is a large chunk of hard to replace public funds and we must make responsible fiscal decisions. All the reputable dealers will leave a unit with you for evaluation for up to a month. Demo units can save you thousands of dollars. please look at the video links as a Public Relations purchase.
Just my opinion, and what a fine one it was.
11-08-1999, 07:52 AM #5TIManFirehouse.com Guest
I could put about 3 or 4 pages of my personal first hand experiences with the FLIR unit, but the second I do I know it will just start another battle so I will limit my responses to the following.
Opinions and first hand experiences from others are a good place to start, but you must ultimately decide on your own which thermal imager or imagers will work best for you. An example : a department recently evaluating the FLIR unit found that they could not open the fresh air hatch on their Interspiro facepiece because it came in contact with unit. That is the type of information that may be critical, but that they would have not gotten from someone else unless they also had tried it out with an Interspiro SCBA.
This also brings up the other critical point brought out by the other posts. You need to evaluate all of the units you are considering in a realistic fire-fighting environment. Some of the units look and work great in an office environment, but get them into a burn building and it is a completely different story. Also realize the first couple of times you use any unit it will be a little akward until you get a chance to figure out what are the best ways to use it. This is clearly illustrated by the fact that most "seasoned TI users" will not navigate by the TI completely. They will scan a room identify the key issues and move or work without the TI until they need to get another bearing on the situation.
Another comment would be, so many departments are thinking along the lines of purchasing a single thermal imager. Many departments I know of started off with that attitude. However, once they found out how great thermal imaging really was (one once they got to using it) or they realized they could get more funding than they expected, they were all of a sudden looking at buying multiple units over the next 2-5 year period. Keep that in mind, and when you do, realize that the number of hands-free choices next year will double if not triple. I would never tell anyone to wait on buying a thermal imager. Scott Cook can tell you if they had waited he may not be with us today, thank God they did not wait. But you may want to think what is the best unit available now and what can I get in the next 2 or 3 years that will be much better in the near future than it is now. The hand-held technology has peaked in a number of ways and the changes to the units will be minimal. However, the hands-free technology of today will look little like the hands-free technology of 2000 or 2001. One day, sooner than we think, you will be getting a heads up display in your facepiece off of a unit that weighs 3 pounds.
Please, do a good thorough evaluation under realistic conditions. Make sure you evaluate the units critically with some form of written format, do not get lost in the wow factor and sit and stare into the flames of a burn. Think ahead, do I want a hand-held unit now, and a hands-free next year ? Do not limit yourself to thinking this is the one and only thermal imager I will have for the next 5 or 10 years. I have yet to find one department who did a good thorough evaluation, with some forethought in their decision making process, who was not happy with their decision. I can name off at least 20 departments who listened to a sales pitch, only listened to another department, or only went through a classroom presentation, who have thermal imagers that sit in their cases and are never used.
Good Luck, Be Safe,
PS : Gulfport and Biloxi Mississippi just did some big evaluations, including some pretty hardcore testing in a flashover chamber (Gulfport), many of the units tested, failed. Not to say they should have to survive a flashover or any other condition you will not probably survive, but they will have to stand up to some serious abuse. Contact them if you would like to get the details.
[This message has been edited by TIMan (edited November 08, 1999).]
11-08-1999, 10:25 AM #6K AFirehouse.com Guest
There isn't an helmet mounted imager that ishands free. Every single one requires your hands for constant helmet readjustment evey few seconds.
"the hands-free technology of 2000 or 2001. "
Well you've got a month. Repackaging the FLIR into a handheld unit would make avery small high tech hand held imager. New batteries will give hours versus hour. But displays will hold the size of the unit pretty constant.
11-08-1999, 05:16 PM #7IRallthewayFirehouse.com Guest
Just a few comments. The salesman we talked to said that their are about 50 fireflirs in use nationwide. We have evaluated all the systems including the fireflir and the system performed very well. Yes, it was nice to use the hand held so several firefighters could view the screen at the same time, but in a real situation no one in our department has time to look at the screen. We did have a little fogging, but it wasn't enough to count the system out. We felt having the ability to use both hands out weighed the fogging and added weight on our helmets. All the systems on the market will fog to some degree regardless. As far as hand held systems out selling the hands free systems. If you look at it there are about 5-6 hand held cameras versus 2 hands free systems. So, of course they will out sell the hands free systems. But, the Cairnes IRIS unit at one time single handily out sold a majority of the hand held systems combined. I agree with TIMAN that every department needs to evaluate each system and make their decision on what they want. They should not base their decision on what is said on this forum or what other department say without using the system first hand. Every system on the market has good points and bad points and your department needs to get what you want. I have met several firefighters in the courses that I have taken that would tell you that hands free is the only way and I've met firefighters that would disagree.
11-12-1999, 03:27 PM #8kvolfireFirehouse.com Guest
I have used both the Cairns and Flir hands-free systems. I think it makes sense to have your hands and your vision at the same time. Simply put: handheld=camerman - Handsfree=FF/rescuer. My choice is continue to do the firefighting job. Besides, with the Flir, you can use it either way!
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