1. #1
    Firehouse.com Guest

    Question What's New From FDIC?

    The FDIC show has been over for half a day now and I'm waiting to hear what those fortunate enough to attend saw. This forum has been quieting down and we need some action.

    Was anything unveiled that nobody expected? Have any new helmet mounted devices been introduced?

    I’m hoping for a variety of input, not just a single southern advocate.

    Rob Donnan
    Captain, Metuchen FD
    President, Jersey Fire & Rescue

  2. #2
    Firehouse.com Guest


    Well, i was an attendee at the conference. I spoke to the cairns rep during the HOT classes and got to try the viper in smoked buildings, it was nice. I also questioned the NJ state bill and the company rep said bullard got it due to their use of old technology. Now as would be expected...bullard denied that accusation and the gentleman i spoke to gave me a very through explanation of the Bullard cam. It seems kind of nice but having never trialed it I cant say for sure. Even still, to have the ability to get a TIC with state funds (free basically) is amazing. Im glad it hapopened and if we get a Bullard..we get a Bullard. The Bullard cam is coming w/o the rapid charge and transmitter, but they can be added at an upgrade cost.

    The opinions and views expressed herin are solely mine and not on the behalf of any department or organization I belong to.

  3. #3
    Firehouse.com Guest


    FDIC Preliminary Report :

    Bullard – 2 models shown
    Bullard TI– Raytheon BST based handheld unit that has been out for over a year now, no intentions of stopping production on the unit any time soon. This unit has a number of improvements to include : brighter LEDs, field replaceable straps, raised bump guard, battery compartment modifications, and direct charge capability.
    Bullard MX – Lockheed Martin Microbolometer based handheld unit, should be ready for release by April. Has a course temperature indicator, 4 channel transmitter, low battery warning indicator, colorized (red) hot spots, direct charge capability.

    Cairns – 2 models shown
    Cairns IRIS – BST based helmet mounted unit
    Cairns Viper – Lockheed Martin Microbolometer based handheld unit.

    FRC – 1 model shown
    Lifesight – Lockheed Martin Microbolometer based handheld unit

    ICC – 1 model shown
    FireOptic – ICC Microbolometer based handheld unit.

    ISG – 1 model shown
    K-90 Talisman – BST based handheld unit

    ISI – 1 model shown
    Vision 3 – BST based handheld unit

    MSA – 3 models shown
    Argus 2 – BST based handheld unit
    Evolution 4000 – Lockheed Martin Microbolometer based handheld unit
    Evolution 3000 – Raytheon BST based handheld unit

    Scott – 1 model shown
    Eagle – Raytheon BST based handheld unit

    Bullard and MSA were the only 2 manufacturers to show new models with major differences.

    Cairns showed the Viper and FRC showed the Lifesight, no noted differences since IChief’s in Kansas City.

    ISG’s K-90 had enhancements made to it. The helmet mounted unit they have been advertising for the past year was not present

    I inquired about ISI’s future since the company that manufactured their unit (ISIG) has been bought by MSA, no real answer.

    I personally was very surprised to see the actual outcome. Rumor control had it FLIR was going to show a new handheld, ISG was going to show their helmet mount, and MSA was going to have a helmet mount. No such luck. The 2 big selling points throughout the show seemed to be a microbolometer engine, durability, and large viewing screen. Imagine that !

    A company called SAGE also showed a helmet mounted model based off of the Indigo Alpha camera (160 x 120 FPA microbolometer). Very small and light weight, but by no means ready for use in actual interior firefighting operations. This will most likely be the wave of the future.

    A number of new issues came out related to training, I will have a post out on that soon.

    If anyone saw or heard of anything else please share it with the rest of us here.

    Good Luck, Be Safe,

  4. #4
    Firehouse.com Guest


    More FDIC

    ISI will release a new unit soon.

    The MSA Micro unit had a course temperature indicator, 2 channel transmitter, low battery warning indicator, vehicle mount, colorized (red) hot spots, on screen displays and top up bottom down display so no matter which way you held the imager, down was down like the Bullard, dual batteries for 3 hour life and changing batteries one at a time without shutting down, a shield over the optics like ISC and Scott, a 6 foot drop capability and a tripod mount.

    Fire Flir had colorized (red) hot spots, will upgrade all old units to this standard via the serial port and a transmitter.

    Lots of talk of lawsuits over electronics deals.

  5. #5
    Firehouse.com Guest


    I noticed all the above as well. I do have a couple comments. I looked at all the microbolometer systems in detail and I was curious on why the MSA and Bullard TICs had a course temperature indicator and the fireflir gives you temperature read out. The course temperature indicator just tells you that the ambient temp is cold, hot, or hotter. I can tell you that without anything. I understand that even with an actual degree readout their are circumstances that can cause it to be off by a few degrees, but at least you have some kind of idea on how hot or cold it is. Another thing I noticed was that the red spots on both the Bullard, MSA, and Viper were solid, so you couldn't see through the red, which if it's really hot the majority of the screen may be red, so you can't see anything. Where as the fireflir, the red spots were transparent, so you could see through it and see what's behind the red. I'm just curious on why the systems with microbolometers are different from each other. The BST based cameras were basically all the same. Had the same features and pratically performed the same, just packaged differently.

    I have not used any of cameras with these features in an actual fire, so I based my comments on what I saw at FDIC and comments by the factory reps.

  6. #6
    Firehouse.com Guest


    Despite what some people will say, the fact is not all the manufacturers selling these cameras design and build them. These devices are all very technical and specialized. It is absurd to think that all these companies which were selling other fire equipment decided to sit down and develop thermal imaging technology on their own. In the case of one company it is even more ridiculous to believe this newest technology wasn’t ready for service until they perfected it. As with many other things in life…these manufacturers sub-contract out to specialized companies for their technology.

    This may explain why there are particular similarities between certain manufacturers cameras.
    They may be using the same innards, developed by the same sub-contractor with the only difference being the case it’s wrapped in and the buttons which operate it.

    Know what you buy and who you buy it from. There are differences in devices, manufacturers and the technology the employ. Take the time to investigate every option and don’t just settle for what you’re handed.

    I hope some manufacturers reps/engineers can add some technical expertise to my above statements. I believe it is important to get the facts from the people who know.

    Rob Donnan
    Captain, Metuchen FD
    President, Jersey Fire & Rescue

  7. #7
    Firehouse.com Guest


    Well, this is it, Jerseyfire really hit the nail on the head spot on.

    Here’s the real untold story about thermal imaging, and manufacturers’ ability to build, re-build, and develop technology.

    There are, in effect, 3 levels of system developers in thermal imaging:

    Level 1 is the sensor manufacturer. Companies like Raytheon, Boeing, Sanders, and about 10 or 15 more. These guys develop the sensor technology (like BST, VOX microbolometers, PbZr,PZT, PST, PtSi, InSb, PEV etc...)

    Level 2 are high level system integrators. These guys develop the electronics that actually read the sensor and/or add significant proprietary technology to CHANGE or ENHANCE the sensor’s performance. Typically, these guys have been in the IR business for years. Companies in this category are FLIR, ICC, Indigo Systems, ISIG, ISG Thermal Systems, etc...

    Level 3 are Original Equipment Manufacturers, or OEMs. These guys do no high level electronic work. They merely take “camera kits” (a standard “plug and play” camera module) and literally drop it into a “shell” typically made of some type of molded material. Generally, companies in
    this category have skills and core competence developed in areas other than thermal imaging, but want to profit from the explosive growth of this market segment. Companies like Bullard (helmet manufacturer), Scott (SCBA Manufacturer), CairnsIRIS (world leader in high-end firefighter helmets), and until recently MSA, fall into this category.

    Jerseyfire is absolutely correct. Many manufacturers of thermal imaging cameras don’t have any core competence in the design and manufacture of this equipment. If a company has been in the business for 100 years building SCBA, or helmets, that does not qualify them, automatically,
    as a viable thermal camera design and developer. Remember, thermal imaging is a very specialized, very complicated set of high technology. What they do have, however, is a good distribution channel that a product can be plugged into.

    OK folks lets explain how this really works:

    Companies that do not have the expertise to design and develop thermal imaging cameras, yet want to sell them, can buy “camera kits” instead of investing in resources and manpower to develop their own technology. These kits are “plug and play” modules for use with the shell
    manufacturer’s end-product. Basically [camera kit + battery + LCD monitor + shell = firefighting camera.] Shazam! Magic!!

    Case in point - there are two popular camera kits - one from Raytheon based on ferroelectric BST, and one produced by Sanders (Lockheed Martin) based on thermoelectric Vanadium Oxide microbolometer construction using the Honeywell patented design.

    Raytheon makes available the Series 300 BST camera kit to firefighting companies. And Lockheed makes available the SIM200 microbolometer camera kit.

    The Raytheon standard S300 kit is used in these cameras:

    Scott Eagle
    Bullard (red camera)
    FRC Lifesight Plus

    (The exact same kit is also used in many non-firefighting applications)

    The standard SIM200 microbolometer camera kit is in these cameras:

    Cairns Viper
    Bullard MX (yellow one)
    FRC Lifesight Survivor (also avail. with BST by the way...)
    MSA Series 4000 (or was that the 3000??)

    (The exact same kit is also used in cameras designed for use other than in firefighting.)

    And, cameras incorporating proprietary, firefighting application specific electronic systems
    driving either BST or Microbolometers (“bolos”).

    ICC FireOptic - Boeing bolo with custom readouts.
    MSA Argus2 - Raytheon BST with custom Gain/Offset/auto-iris
    ISI Vision3 - Raytheon BST with custom auto-iris
    MSA Series 3000 (or was that the 4000? - the BST version built by ISIG, New Mexico.)
    FireFLIR - Boeing bolo with custom readouts - bolo operates in digital.
    ISG K90 Talisman Digitek - Raytheon BST with custom digital stuff and auto-sat stuff

    Now, since everyone seems to be interested in the microbolometer, I’ll just concentrate on that for a minute.

    Regarding the Lockheed SIM200 Microbolometer:

    A. The bar on the right side of the screen indicating relative temperature is not the ambient temperature, it is a spot temperature reading that tells you the temperature of some object on the screen - presumably in the center crosshairs.

    The reason you have only a “bar” rather than the actual temperature readout in degrees (like FLIR and others) is because Lockheed Martin is contractually limited to providing SIM200 kits to only companies who will NOT use it as a radiometric device - the contract is with FLIR/Agema. If they allowed Bullard or MSA or whomever to display actual numbers, they would be in violation of their agreement with FLIR/Agema, who use some of this same LockMar technology in their Agema 595 thermal imager (and what an AWESOME camera that Agema is!! - exceptional engineering!)

    That’s why any camera utilizing the LockMar Sim200 will only have a temp bar.

    B. The transmitter indicator in some SIM200 based cameras is taken right off of Lockheed’s on-board annotation capability.

    C. The isotherm (single temperature colorization) is also an on board function of the SIM200 camera kit. All cameras using the SIM200 have that capability. MSA, Cairns and Bullard MX (Yellow one). The simple reason why FireFLIR does not return a solid red spot like Bullard, MSA
    and Cairns is presumably because they’ve picked a narrow temperature range to color red, while Lockheed has chosen to color anything ABOVE a certain temperature to be red. Notice I’ve referenced Lockheed as the decision maker, not Bullard or Cairns - that was intentional.

    D. There are two ways you can use the SIM200 in an OEM camera, you can configure it in 8 bit analog mode, and in 16 bit digital mode.

    16 Bit Digital - this is the optimum way to use the SIM200, you get 16bit performance which means you get really good dynamic range, and can do things like digital signal processing to enhance the image quality. BUT, the tradeoff is that you have to design and develop all the
    digital to analog conversion, all the gain/offset corrections, and stuff like that. Basically, to do this, you now must have design and development knowledge in video and IR systems. Unfortunately, most makers of firefighting cameras simply do not possess those skills.

    To overcome this problem, The SIM200, can instead be configured for firefighting OEMs in 8 bit analog mode, where gain and offset, all A to D and D to A conversions are controlled by our buddies at Lockheed Martin, on board the SIM200. The typical firefighting camera manufacturer merely plugs in a battery and hooks up an LCD monitor and, like before, Shazam!! a camera is born. (By the way, the LCD screen is the only display that can easily be used “plug-and-play.” A CRT requires application specific electronics to make it “see.”)

    In analog, the overall camera performance is greatly reduced. Just think, a camera operating in digital 16 bit mode theoretically has 65,535 gray scales, while one operating in analog 8 bit merely has 256 shades. Can you imagine the difference? You will only see this type of
    performance from companies who are high-level integrators.

    (By the way, there are ways to fool the camera’s electronics into thinking there’s more range than there actually is, so don’t really take this literally, this is oversimplified. Some of us have done
    exceptional work with only 256 gray scales.) But it gives you a good perspective of the where these manufacturers are - and where they could be if they really knew what they were doing.

    So... there’s much much more to a performance based thermal imager than JUST the fact that it will continue to work if you jump on it.

    Wanna see these plug-and-play camera kits?
    www.raytheon.com/rsc/ses/spr/spr_cir/300int.htm www.sanders.com/iris/SIM200_module.htm

    Well, enough damage done today.....

    David Little
    Director, North American Operations
    ISG Thermal Systems USA, Inc.

    (P.S. I’m still at ISG - there were rumors that I left and went to work for Cairns. Nope. (much to the dismay of the ISG Board of Directors Huh!! - just kidding guys - sense of humor ok??)

    All this stuff is believed to be accurate but not guaranteed. - If there are any misrepresentations, please post corrected info.

    [This message has been edited by dalittle (edited March 08, 2000).]

    [This message has been edited by dalittle (edited March 08, 2000).]

  8. #8
    Firehouse.com Guest


    Thanks Dave! When I asked for technical expertise I never imagined I'd recieve a degree in thermal imaging.

    Very informative!

    Rob Donnan
    Captain, Metuchen FD
    President, Jersey Fire & Rescue

  9. #9
    Firehouse.com Guest


    Hello All and welcome back Mr. Little,

    If everyone thought the earlier posts between manufacturers were good, “you ain’t seen nothing yet !” so pull up a chair and grab a bag of popcorn.

    First I have to make one point very clear, the following comments were made by an individual who has no real way of knowing what is really going on. Basically some of the information was thrown out based on no more than speculation, not a good way to pass on quality information.

    Quote : “The bar on the right side of the screen indicating relative temperature is not the ambient temperature, it is a spot temperature reading that tells you the temperature of some object ...(cut out)...
    That’s why any camera utilizing the LockMar Sim200 will only have a temp bar.”

    Correct on the contractual stuff, but not on why the Bullard unit was set up that way.
    The TI sales force has been selling “on screen temperature read out” for over a year now. To be honest Bullard has lost many TI sales to ISG and ISI because we did not have this feature. However, once we made an effort to get the information out on the inaccuracy of this feature, we no longer were losing sales. But we all know that sales is not what matters here. What matters here is the fact that for over a year now manufactures and their reps have been lieing to firefighters about the accuracy of this feature (to sell TIs) and as a result have placed firefighter lives in danger. No doubt it has happened, I have witnessed it personally and have literature where the lies are in writing. If you want examples just email me. Bullard did not choose to use a “course temperature indicator” because we had no other option. We could have left it off like we did on the first unit. We choose a sliding scale over a single numeric display so there could be no confusion that the unit was not capable of accurately producing a single number readout under all conditions. We are not just trying to cash in, but make a valuable tool for firefighters, without compromising their safety or our integrity to do it.

    Quote : “Notice I’ve referenced Lockheed as the decision maker, not Bullard or Cairns - that was intentional.”

    Incorrect once again, Bullard does not simply sit back and let Lockheed Martin call the shots or simply take whatever they are willing to offer. The lens assembly that is on the Bullard / Lockheed Martin Sim 200 unit is exclusive to that model only. One of the single most important components on a thermal imager is the lens. Bullard was not happy with the performance of the original lens Lockheed Martin offered so we required Lockheed Martin to come up with a better one. There are also a number of other changes (can’t talk about TOPSECRET) that have been made to the “standard” Sim 200 kit. The bottom line, Bullard does not buy a product and tinker with it, we work with the original manufacturer to develop a product that meets our needs up front. Why buy a car and try to “sup it up” with after market parts when you can work directly with the manufacturer to get what you want in the first place. Bullard has made so many trips to Lockheed Martin to work with them, it would have been cheaper to relocate one of our employees to Massachusetts than pay for the airfare and hotel rooms. Bullard and Lockheed Martin have a “working partnership”, we do not simply take or buy what they have to offer.

    As far as the rest of the information goes, much of it is accurate, but is it really of any value to a firefighter buying or using a TI ? I THINK NOT ! I think it shows the manufactures would rather spend hours talking about technical crap that may be significant in a lab, but means nothing in the real world of firefighting.

    I have said it before and will say it over and over again until I drop dead or give up on thermal imaging and firefighting. You are using a thermal imager to navigate and identify hazardous conditions, not to conduct thermographic scans or make Hollywood movies. You need a good picture and good sensitivity, but an Agema camera which has incredible picture quality, excellent sensitivity, and a very accurate temperature measurement will not last 2 minutes in a fire. You should not buy a TI based on any single criteria, but durability should be at the top. Picture quality, temperature measurement, dynamic range, or any of the other stuff may be important, but it will not do you any good if it does not work the first time the unit goes into a fire or it is dropped.

    Information on thermal imaging is important and it is unfortunate more quality information is not out there in the hands of firefighters. However information overload, “slanted information”, or “laboratory data" can also be a down side to information on thermal imaging. Take it all in, but be careful. If you can only get a piece of information from one single source, and that source is related to the sales force, I would mostly likely disregard it unless you can get it verified by someone who has crawled into a burning building with a TI on numerous occasions.

    The technology has to come from an engineer in a lab, but more importantly, it has to work in the hands of a firefighter in burning structure !

    Good Luck, Be Safe,

    PS : I do believe myself and my fellow employees at Bullard have a significant understanding of thermal imaging, more importantly we all (even the engineers) bunker up on regular basis and take what we make into a fire (with other firefighters) and see what it will really do ! I guess that is why we have hundreds of satsified customers and less than 3 percent of our units have ever been returned for service.

  10. #10
    Firehouse.com Guest


    Captain Donnan and Mr. Little:

    I couldn't agree more with both of you!!

    As you investigate the purchase of a TIC you should evaluate the features and performance of each one and then ask yourself what type of company are you buying from? Mr Little makes this very clear in his post. There are way too many "Non-IR" companies in the thermal imaging market. Would you like to buy a camera from someone who specializes in helmets or SCBAs, or someone who only manufactures IR equipment? You wouldn't go to your local gas station when you've come down with the flu, nor would you ask your doctor if he detects a misfire in your vehicle's engine. As a firefighter and FLIR employee, I am puzzled as to why there are so many firefighters willing to purchase such an important and expensive technology from sources that have "questionable at best" IR knowledge.
    A year ago, many of these "manufacturers" (in quotes simply because many are not) laughed at FLIR and ICC for bringing microbolometer engines to the fire service. They stated that BST was the only way to go and that's why there are so many companies utilizing this technology (Mr Little explains the real reason for this in his post). BOY, WHAT A DIFFERENCE A YEAR MAKES! Microbolometer imagers showed up everywhere at FDIC 2000. Were we smarter or did it take a while before someone stepped forward and started prepackaging bolometers for the current BST "assemblers" group? Look at the displays in Bullard's "MX" and MSA's "4000" and the answer will be obvious. It should also raise the question "who actually designs, engineers, manufactures and services this thing"?
    Mr Little makes a fine BST camera. I simply feel that microbolometer IS the engine of choice for the fire service. In that regard, please note that between FLIR and its Agema and Inframetrics groups, nobody has manufactured and designed more great microbolometer products than we have (Mr Little basically notes this in his post). We have the knowledge, talent and experience to do it right and back it up with good sevice after the sale.
    Check us out and see for yourself!

  11. #11
    Firehouse.com Guest


    No comment.

    What I observed about FDIC was the amount of mis-information that seemed to be roaming around. Some of the better ones:

    "If you point two thermal imagers at each other they will malfunction"

    "So and so's TIC can have the batteries changed while under water"

    "Only so and so's TIC keeps the image upright when the camera is rotated"

    All of the above mentioned facts are false (at least to the best of my knowledge).

    I could provide a few more whoppers, but everyone would know who I was talking about, and I'm trying to keep this non-vendor specific.

    There is a lot of crazy ideas and information roaming around out there, beware of promises made and implications of performance that often times cannot be verified by the buyer.

    Now for the ICC commercial:
    I saw a lot of ICC FireOptic ideas from last year's FDIC show popping up in other makers TIC's this year... and no one mentioned our new software. I guess I'll have to speak to our marketing guys.
    End of commercial.

    Tom Clynne
    President - ICC

  12. #12
    Firehouse.com Guest


    HOLY COW!!!!! I was just asking for some input and I see their is alot of very informative stuff here. I just have one last comment in regards to TIMANs statement about measuring temperature. The BST cameras used a pyrometer so they would not be going against any contract agreement with Raytheon because you can't measure temp with a BST. That's if a contract agreement exsist between Lockheed and FLIR. With all the other BST TICs that have the temp measurement option you would think more than one camera would have the temp readout on a microbolometer system. Wouldn't you? So, that would leave me to beleive that Mr Little is correct. Regardless, I thinks it's funny how the posts from this forum months ago were so BST driven and now it seems to have changed. I love this stuff!!!

  13. #13
    Firehouse.com Guest


    Are we having fun yet ? More importantly are we learning yet ?

    Give this some thought :

    Can you take any piece of off the shelf electronic equipment into a fire and expect it to function ? Of course not ! Any piece of electronic equipment will fail very quickly in a fire unless it has some very significant design features to protect it from heat, water, and impact.

    Would you go into a fire without a helmet on your head ? Of course not ! Your brain, just like any piece of electronic equipment, needs protection.

    Anybody guess where I am going with this ?

    Anyone seen a tank, helicopter, airplane, or soldier equipped with a thermal imaging device operating in a structure fire recently?

    Would you rather wear a helmet into a fire that was made by a company who makes helmets to protect infantry soldiers from bullets or from a company who makes helmets to protect firefighters from heat, water, and impact ?

    I spent over 6 years in the military, I don’t remember charging into any structure fires with my thermal imaging equipment. It got hot during Desert Storm, but not as hot as the last structure fire I was in.

    Is it important to have the best technology available? Of course, and I think everyone would agree Lockheed Martin and Raytheon both do a good job (unless your the competition). Is it also every bit as important to be able to package this technology so that it will operate in a fire ? YOU BETTER BELIEVE IT !

    Should you decide for yourself who does the best job of bringing technology and protection together to give you a unit you can be confident will work for when you need it most in a raging fire ? YOU BETTER BELIEVE IT !

    Should you let someone who spends their days sitting behind a desk, working in a lab, or making a living off of sales tell you what is going to work best for you in a burning building ? Should you listen to your fellow firefighters, conduct your own research, and personally try each unit out under realistic conditions to see which one performs the best ? YOU BETTER BELIEVE IT !

    Talk (data and numbers) is usually cheap, Actions (performance under realistic fire conditions) usually speak much louder than words (sales pitch) !

    I have been there (in both the Military and Fire Service), done that, and have the t-shirts (scars) to prove it ! For over 14 years my life has depended on the equipment I use. Think I would work for an equipment manufacturer if I thought they had anything less than an outstanding product that will be there when you needed it most ? Does that mean you should buy a Bullard TI ? No, it means you should do whatever it takes to be 100 percent confident that the TI you buy is the best piece of equipment available and will be there when you need it !

    I wish we could spend half the time we waste arguing over who or what is best talking about training and other significant thermal imaging issues.

    Good Luck, Be Safe,

    PS : remember, I am a firefighter / instructor, not a corporate salesman or mouthpiece. Have any doubts, ask one of the hundreds of firefighters I have done thermal imaging training with or provided non-biased information to !

    Mr Clynne smart move staying out of this one, it will most likley turn into another worthless mud slinging, chest beating load of crap !

  14. #14
    Firehouse.com Guest


    One minute you’re not an engineer, just one of the grunts, but in your next sentence you’re quoting technical specifications and having in-depth arguments with engineers from other companies.

    You don’t care which camera is used as long as it does the job, yet you insert the Bullard name into every posting at every opportunity.

    Your not a salesman and you bad mouth the sales personnel from other companies by making broad stroked accusations like they’re liars and they don’t know what they’re talking about.

    You assume that you are the only person who is involved in the TI camera industry who is also a firefighter and has crawled into a burn building with a device.

    Two weeks ago the microbolometer wasn’t ready for field use, but now that the “Engineers” at Bullard have perfected the technology and it’s ready to go.

    And as far as attacking the military industry for not being relative to firefighting…GET A CLUE! There is no end to the number of technologies which have benefited from military development. I believe a little known substance called Kevlar was the product of military and one other concept which may shock everyone is the idea of “Combat Field Medicine” or what is known as the modern day Paramedic along with the advances in BLS care all come from that irrelevant military.

    You ramble on and attack others for the same things you say. Lets raise the bar for everyone and try to learn how best to utilize this technology, not argue who is best.

    My resume includes firefighter/emt/army medic/instructor/business owner/fire equipment salesman/fast food junkie and a plethora of other things nobody would care about. Just watch who you accuse of being a liar and don’t assume everything you have to say is fact. I know I don’t.

    Almost forgot, I'm talking to TIMAN, incase you couldn't figure it out.

    Rob Donnan
    Captain, Metuchen FD
    President, Jersey Fire & Rescue

    [This message has been edited by jerseyfire (edited March 10, 2000).]

  15. #15
    Firehouse.com Guest


    I 100% agree with JerseyFIRE and TIMAN if the technology in the military shouldn't matter to anyone in the fire service than why did Bullard participate in the Navy report? I do agree with the statement from TIMAN that we should all do our own research and feel confindent in what we buy. However, when we are evaluating TICs it's very important to think about the future and upgradability. We don't want to be left behind with old TICs. The manufactuers that specialize in thermal imaging will make their cameras upgradable and change with the future. Case and point, I talked with the people from flir at FDIC and the fireflirs that were sold a year ago can be upgraded to have the temp measurement and red spots. Their might be a charge, but you have the option. I feel that's very important since technology is changing everyday. I can't remember the last TIC besides the IRIS that could have some kind of feature added that wasn't available at time of purchase. Another example, not to pick on Bullard, but since Bullard is using the same outer case can the BST owners send thier units in and have the microbolometer installed?

  16. #16
    Firehouse.com Guest


    I went to the Big Dance in Indy as a volunteer looking to find his way through the smoke, that I been seeing on the TIC forum.
    From my hose position as a firefighter with 10 years of answering the bell, and yes also having had the honor of finding the damosel in distress and hauling her drunken big butt down two flights of stairs, this is my take on what I saw.
    While the Big guys had all the glitter their pitches reminded me of a used car saleman, a lot of talk, not much subsistence. I expected that I would have seen demostrations of the charactertics so hotly debated on this forum, but to my surprise only one manufacture,Firoptic from the ICC company actual put its camera through its paces. They have some software I think called HE, I not sure of all the tech bull, but what it does is very impressive. Not only can you see an image in front of the heat source, but you can see and distinguish images behind the heat source. It was a true leap ahead of other units. The guys from Fireoptic were the only manufacturer that demonstrated an answer to the questions of durability (the stairs drop were wild), handling heat build and showing the picture image with a true heat source. What really hook me on this camera was how simple it was to operate, lord know when I am on the scene my mind needs no more distraction then the fire presents. Simple is good. The guy in the booth said that the design was the effort of firefighters, at first my mind wander to if they think this is a good looking unit I sure I don't want to see their women, but as the song says if you want to be happy marry an ugly women I tried to make this thing fail the can I do this with your camera test and could not. It fits the profile of a firefight's monkey mentality, that is it a working device, not a toy. Which bring me to the next wonder these guys have and I believe it is called a Grab and go rack, what it is a charging rack designed to mount in the cab and be ready for action just as the firefighter is when the truck reaches the scene, nobody else has anything close. Most suggested storing the TIC in the case. OK, sure lets keep a $20,000 tool in the back compartment with the hydrant tool bag.
    Well I not good at keeping secrets so I guess you know who product spec is on the Chiefs desk, also the mayor got a copy and a report.
    To the other TIC manufacturers when you get done playing your word war, chew on this.
    I came to as one of the thousand of volunteers that each day without reservation answer the bell for our neighbor, asking you to show a product that I could share with my brothers and sisters in our quest to serve. You talk the talk but could not walk the walk. Note to TIMan you proclaim to be the friend of the firefighter and boost of be being in the ranks, well help your company put together a real demo of the product, while it great to hear about the "SAVEs" your camera has assisted in please educate your sale staff that the TIC has many applications and that "SAVEs" do not come that often but protecting the firefighter and minualizing property damage is an every day requirement. I also did not expect that so many of the manufacturers would be unable to demostrate basic issues such as durabity, because they had their booths equiped with protypes. I even got that respond from the world largest microbolometer the Viper, news flash to sale staff units are being delivered, why are only protypes available at the show?
    In a nut shell there a lot of bull coming out of most of these guys and maybe it because they are so big and know all those fancy engineering terms that the voice of the customer is not important. My money is going with the little ugly guys, the Fireoptic, they gave me a real sense of confidence, something I demand of myself every time the bell rings.

    Till the next bell
    Tony Belair

  17. #17
    Firehouse.com Guest


    Oh yeah, we are having fun now ! Not because we are fighting or arguing but because we are having some good debates that are hopefully provoking people to think about all that is being said rather than taking the word of any single person or agency as gospel.

    Now for the response :

    I have to wear many hats in my current position. Some of the time I have to be an engineer because the other engineers only preach the message of the company they work for. Some people obviously think I only put info out to benefit Bullard, that is ok, but if you want the real story talk to some of the people I have worked with. Most importantly I have been and always will be a grunt. Just ask the guys who have been going into training fires with me for the last couple of months.

    As far as plugging Bullard, if you review my 70 plus posts you will find “Bullard” mentioned in them less than 25 percent of the time. Funny how the other reps are averaging about 75 percent or better of the time. Of course they are just doing their job trying to sell their products.

    As far as accusations go, I never make any I can’t back up with documented proof. If anyone doesn’t believe me and wants to see any of it, just drop me an email.

    I never said or implied I was the only person in the thermal imaging business with a fire background, I just strongly recommended you talk to them over the people who have a purely sales or engineering background.

    As far as perfecting microbolometers, I never said Bullard or our engineers perfected the technology. I simply said we are confident that we now have a microbolometer based unit that will function in a fire fighting environment. If all of the other microbolometer based units were so good why are there probably less than a couple hundred of them in service ? Name me a couple of major department that exclusively use microbolometer based units. I can name you a few thousand that use BST based units.

    Did I say the military never made a contribution to the Fire Service ? No I think not, I simply made the point that thermal imaging technology that was developed for the military does not magically make its way into the Fire Service and automatically work under some very different conditions.

    As far as my “attacks” go, if I don’t agree with what someone posted you bet I will respond. Of course there is nothing wrong with debate, it tends to make people think rather than blindly follow what someone is saying. Of course most sales and marketing people would rather have you listen and believe rather than question or think.

    Yeah, I just wasted some more time, but when someone calls me out by name I figure I had better reply.

    As far as being able to put the Bullard Microbolometer in the existing case, check out the earlier post on upgrades, it says it all.

    As far as FDIC goes, if you would have stopped by the booth last year you would have most likely had to dodge a falling thermal imager. We did not drop them this year becasue we felt the point had already been made on durability, and anyone in the booth should have told you they would be happy to have your local distributor stop by and drop, dunk, and bake one for you. As far as saves go, we all know a thermal imager can not walk into a structure on its own and pull someone out. However, you can learn from the saves being made, and educating civilians about these saves has gotten more depts the funding they need to buy units
    than anything else.

    Just trying to pass on information and provoke some logical thought, sorry if that upsets some people.

    Good Luck, Be Safe,

    [This message has been edited by TIMan (edited March 10, 2000).]

    [This message has been edited by TIMan (edited March 10, 2000).]

  18. #18
    S. Cook
    Firehouse.com Guest


    IRALLTHEWAY states "Case and point, I talked with the people from flir at FDIC and the fireflirs that were sold a year ago can be upgraded to have the temp measurement and red spots. Their might be a charge, but you have the option. I feel that's very important since technology is changing everyday."

    It is my understanding the FLIR could have put this in their imager at least a year ago, at least as an option.

    Why didn't they make it available then?

    I hear there are other upgrades just sitting on the shelf over at Flir that will only be intro'd when someone else makes one that will do something similar.

    If this is true, what's the deal?

    IRALLTHEWAY, do you work for FLIR in any way? Lot's of folks think so, a few think they may know who you are. I just want all the cards out on the table.

    And wasn't kevlar developed for the space program, not the military?

    [This message has been edited by S. Cook (edited March 10, 2000).]

  19. #19
    Firehouse.com Guest


    Dear Mr. Belair:

    I think my wife is rather attractive.

    I think my TIC is too. A face only a parent could love I suppose.

    As for the rest of the guys and their wives.....

    Tom Clynne
    President - ICC

  20. #20
    Firehouse.com Guest


    The horse is dead, lets stop beating it.

    Thermal Imaging Cameras Are Good!

    Do Your Homework!

    But Get One, Any One And Use It!

    Would someone please post a new, more interseting subject. Preferably on training or practical use of TIC's

    Rob Donnan
    Captain, Metuchen FD
    President, Jersey Fire & Rescue

  21. #21
    Firehouse.com Guest



    You think your wife is rather attractive?

    Only RATHER attractive??

    Boy oh boy, I hope that she's not reading this board - for your sake - or that's the last time your're gettin' any!

    Be REAL careful abouth this stuff, last week my wife accused me of having an affair with something yellow that sees through smoke.


  22. #22
    Firehouse.com Guest


    The horse is dead, but I will respond to S.Cook.

    Do you think that I work for flir because I'm 100% for hands free and I feel that the microbolometer is far superior than the BST? The only camera on the market that fits that description is the fireflir, I wish thier were more options. All of my posts have been for hands free and all for the microbolometer. Almost every person that post a topic or reply on this board favors one paticular TIC, right. So, they must all work for the TIC that they favor. I have made no sales pitches and have said several times any TIC is better than none. As far as what features were available on the firerflir last year. I have no idea, but I have done a lot of research on all the companies that sell TICs because I want to make sure they will be around for years to come. I looked at the flir web page about 8 months ago to see some of the other products that they manufactuer that use the microbolometer and they have been doing temperature measuremnt for a long time. I think David Little will agree. So, my guess is that they could have done it, but like anything else it takes engineering, design, and time. All TIC manufactuers have features coming up that they will release when they want, that's called business. It's our job as consumers to buy at the right time and make sure we don't get screwed. Take a look at all the fire departments that bought Bullards and MSA two or three months ago. I bet they would have waited if they knew that microbolometer system were coming out.

  23. #23
    S. Cook
    Firehouse.com Guest


    Good coverage of the assumed points IRALLTHEWAY, but you danced around the question like you were trying out for Swan Lake.

    So I'll ask again - do you work for FLIR in any way, shape or form? Yes or no, simple as that.

    The question or answer has nothing to do with how you feel about hands free or handheld. I've said several times in my posts to try all of them and get what's best for your department. If that's how you feel and that's what you're using then I'm all for it for you.

    If you're curious, I do not work for Bullard, I'm just an end user.

    And at present, I would not trade the BST based imagers we purchased for a microbolometer - I've only seen 2 I like (to be fair I haven't seen the new MSA yet). I'm sure there will be a time in the future when I will, but just not now.

  24. #24
    Firehouse.com Guest



  25. #25
    S. Cook
    Firehouse.com Guest


    Ok, just wondering.

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