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  1. #21
    Junior Member
    Join Date
    Mar 2001
    Location
    Cynthiana, KY, USA
    Posts
    9

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    Hello All,

    Glad to see we have some activity and thought taking place.

    Not like I haven't said this a couple of times before, but I guess one more time is in order.

    Unlike certain other reps speaking out here, I am a firefighter / instructor and sales has absolutely nothing to do with my job or way of life.

    Between the Military and Fire Service I have been at this for over 15 years. I have been a Firefighter and State Level Instructor in 3 different states. I am currently a volunteer firefighter with a combination dept. The only reason I am not on the job full time is because I travel about 45 weeks out of the year all over North America and Europe teaching classes on numerous Fire Service topics. I would guess that it is this experience with thermal imaging and its use in firefighting that has led to me publishing over 20 articles on thermal imaging. I spend about 16 hours of every day fighting fire or teaching people about firefighting and thermal imaging.

    I have never received a paycheck for any job that had anything to do with sales. Bullard has a TI sales force that numbers well over a hundred (if you count Bullard personnel and distributors), but I am not one of them.

    I have over 10 dates scheduled in the coming months to instruct on thermal imaging at the State, National, and International level. I have no dates scheduled to make a sales call on any level.

    Anyone who knows me knows what I am about, and it's not about selling thermal imaging cameras. I'm about making sure everyone understands the pros and cons of thermal imaging so they have a better chance of coming home at the end of the shift.

    As far as the comments on video overlay:
    Video overlay is a CCD video camera, the same thing you will find in any run of the mill camcorder. It is not an image intensifier or a SWIR camera (which will work in low level light, but not smoke), and as such it will not work any better than a video camera or the human eye would work in low light or smoke. The video overlay feature on the ISG unit states that it requires a minimum of 0.05 Lux for operation, no better than the specs on my JVC camcorder.

    You are correct that the image produced by the feature is a combination of video and thermal image. That also means half of your image can be smoke (which is seen as a dark image), which is then laid over your thermal image, which in turn actually darkens the thermal image and degrades the quality of the thermal image.

    Video overlay was not developed, nor intended, for use in low light or smoke. I am pretty sure that even David Little will agree with this one, but if not please feel free to respond otherwise.

    When you use a thermal imager and all you can see is the thermal image you greatly restrict your field of view (from 180 degrees to less than 70 degrees) and you loose your situational awareness (depth perception and ability to recognize objects). In an attempt to compensate for this loss of normal vision video overlay was added. Of course if you can see the thermal image and the surrounding area at the same time your brain can produce its own "video overlay". Same philosophy is basic training for use on some weapon sighting systems in the military. When you use a weapon sight you keep both eyes open and look at the sight and surrounding area, you see the enhanced image from the weapon sight, you see the natural image from the surrounding area, and your brain combines the 2 images for a best of both worlds scenario. Limiting what you can see to a 2 dimensional image of less than 70 degrees, if you have another option available, does not make any sense.

    You can call this my "opinion" but it is based on science and over 10 years of experience using military weapon sights and thermal imagers in firefighting. If anyone can provide me with a video or documented scientific study that shows otherwise please do so.

    boesfwfd, sorry to come down on another brother who is into thermal imaging, but facts are facts, and your facts are off base.

    I think unfortunately to many of us have lost sight as to why a thermal imaging camera should be purchased, to see through smoke and identify heat sources. If you want to record something on video buy a camcorder, the ones with a low Lux SWIR feature will work in cases where the video overlay feature will not. If you want to measure the temperature of a particular spot buy a good hand held pyrometer. They can have a distance-to-spot ratio that is 10 times better than the temperature measurement feature on a thermal imager and you can adjust the emissivity value if needed instead of it being preset and non adjustable, all of which will give you a much more accurate reading than you could ever get with a thermal imager. And you can buy booth of these tools for less than you will pay to have these features added to your thermal imager.

    The truth on video overlay and temperature measurement features will be thoroughly documented in the coming weeks. Then every firefighter out there can see for themselves what the real pros and cons of the features are.

    I am going to "put my money where my mouth is". I challenge anyone out there, firefighter or manufacturer, to do the same. Give me the scenario, show me the video, or give me the scientific evidence that backs up the claims.

    We all need to learn together, because we all fight together, and die together.

    Good Luck, Be Safe,
    Mike "TIman" Richardson
    Bullard TI Training Specialist


  2. #22
    Junior Member
    Join Date
    Jul 2001
    Location
    Fort Wayne, Indiana
    Posts
    18

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    Mike, I agree this diologue is good, even if we dont always agree. I agree that the video overlay is the same as what you can see with your eye-that was my point if I didnt make it clear. Your eye (and video overlay) can see in low light and light smoke conditions. I teach firefighters to look away from the camera to keep themselves normally oriented in these conditions. I use the analogy of a rear view mirror. With video overlay you get to see that image IF conditions warrant.

    But you have to realize too that we cant spend the tens of thousands of dollars only to use the camera in the fires when dark black smoke is banked down to the floor. We need to use them to do as many things as we can - electrical problems, smoke scares, light ballast runs, haz mat runs, etc. Locating items for the police, and even locating lost children. All of these things can be accomplished in conditions that are conducive to video overlay being a helpful aid.

    Lastly, not trying to blast you, but didnt you say you work for Bullard? If they are signing your checks, then I dont think you can honestly say you are able to objectively or ethically evaluate features of cameras made by competitors of your employer.

    I will say this, you are very knowledgeable, and I always look forward to seeing what you post, and it seems that I learn something with each one.

    Terry Boes

  3. #23
    Junior Member
    Join Date
    Mar 2001
    Location
    Cynthiana, KY, USA
    Posts
    9

    Default

    Hello Again,

    I am not sure what it is going to take to get this point across, my guess is some people are never going to get it.

    I was not hired by Bullard to sell their product. I was hired by Bullard to educate their sales force and end users on thermal imaging. Its' really pretty simple, educated sales people do a better job of selling, educated end users really understand thermal imaging, both things lead to increased sales for Bullard, but not because I "sell" anything. I put the facts out on the table, as an end user you look at them and decide what is important, Bullard believes if you have all of the facts, you can get by the sales and marketing garbage, and you will buy their product.

    Do I impact sales? Yes. Is it because I go out making a sales and marketing pitch full of garbage? No.

    Do I receive a commission check for TI sales or is my performance evaluation based on sales figures? No. Do I receive a straight paycheck and am I evaluated on how many people I impact with training? Yes.

    Bullard's Thermal Imaging Website, the gateway to end users, clearly illustrates this line of thought. Unlike the other manufacture's websites where you will predominantly find a sales pitch or information on their TI, Bullard's website has a wealth of non-biased information that can be used by anyone to help in the purchase of a thermal imager or in the use of the thermal imager once it is purchased. This is a free nonbiased education on thermal imaging available to anyone who wants it, not a twisted sales and marketing message full of garbage.

    As far as being impartial:

    I have made presentations in North America and Europe at National and International Fire Shows, Regional Fire schools, and State Fire Academies. Interscuhtz in Germany, Mississippi Fire Academy, First Due Conference, Mid Atlantic Expo & Symposium, Fire-Rescue International, and the National EMS Expo just to name a few. I have had articles published in Firehouse, FireRescue, Advanced Rescue Technology, Fire International, Industrial Fire Journal, and Firefighting in Canada just to name a few.

    The people responsible for these events and publications don't have a habit of letting a salesperson make a sales pitch in front of hundreds or thousands of their attendees or subscribers. If they did their business would take a serious nosedive. If anyone would like to see some of the critique sheets from these presentations or some of the comments I have gotten from articles I have written give me a mailing address. You will see things like," I thought because you worked for Bullard this was going to be a Bullard sales pitch, but it was a very unbiased and educational presentation".

    I am very thankful that people like the show coordinators and magazine publishers can get buy who signs my paycheck and look and the efforts I have put forth over the last 2 years. I am also glad to see that firefighters are questioning anything that comes from a TI rep because there are many of them out there who are spreading many "half truths". However I believe that my performance over the last 2 years shows that I am not out to "bamboozle" anyone with a sales pitch, I am out there to make sure that the information is getting out and the training is getting done.

    If you still doubt me stop by the booth at Fire-Rescue International or come to the TI class I am doing at the Utah State Fire Academy in August or at the National Fire Academy in October. If you see me in action and hear what I have to say and still want to call me a salesperson then so be it!

    Terry, because you state that you believe video overlay has value, does not make you a sales person for ISI or ISG even though by adding value to this feature you are adding value to their units. Because I disagree with the value of video overlay, a feature not found on any Bullard TI doesn't mean I am trying to slam the other units or make a sales pitch for Bullard it just means I have a different view point than yours. Just because you don't cash a paycheck from a manufacturer doesn't mean you can't ever make a sales pitch for a particular product. Just because I cash a paycheck from a manufacturer doesn't mean everything I say is a sales pitch for that manufacturer.

    We all seem to agree on one thing, make sure you get as much information as you possibly can from as many different sources as you possibly can. Then you can make your own educated decisions!


    Good Luck, Be Safe,

    Mike "TIman" Richardson
    Bullard TI Training Specialist

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