# Thread: Temperature measurment. A necessity?

1. ## Temperature measurment. A necessity?

We are looking at getting a TIC. One question that pops up is if temperature measurment is a necessity?
How accurate is it?

2. No, temperature measurement is not a necessity, it is a god tool in B\W TIC's because you end up asking yourself "how white is white? Is this white hotter than that white?" With temperature measurement it is a average that depends on distance away from an object. If you are right on the object it is pretty accurate, if you are 20ft away it is an average of a larger area around the object. Here is a way to look at it, you walk in to a smoke filled house trying to find the source of your smoke, with temp measurement your brain can decifer actual degree measurements easier than different shades of white. There is a camera out there that first came out with a "see the red see the fire" sales slogan. If you did the research it was easy to see that was a gimmick as it didn't turn "RED" until the object reached 900+ degrees. I have fought MANY fires that NEVER reached 900 degrees. Now they have incorporated a "Yellow" that turns at a much lesser degree reading.

A good way to evaluate cameras is to have them ALL together for a live burn. Take them in as a group and hand them off to one another let the heat do its thing.

3. Thanks.. WE have picked the TIC that we want to get ,( had the live burn) but still some indicision on if we want the temp measurement option or if it is worth the extra money.
I thought I would get a lot more response to this post

4. Sorry for the delay in this response. In answer to your question is a temperature read out worthwhile? Yes. When I first started using TIC I felt it was more of a gimick. Than I started wondering just how hot that white spot I was seeing was.
As for how accurate the temperature sensors is depends on the TIC. TIC's using Microbolometers can give a reading within a few degrees. This is of course dependent on how close you are to the area being measured. The closer you are with any tewmperature measuring device the more accurate the reading will be. Other TIC are dependent on a seperate pyrometer installed in the camera to detect temperature. The pyrometers are not as accurate. I am guessing that this is the type of temperature sensor you would be getting in you TIC since it is an option you are paying extra for. I hope this is of some help. If you have any questions let me know.

5. GPM,
I did some research on Pyrometers awhile ago and found them to be VERY reliable. I also believe it is a great feature to have in a TIC.
While looking for extension, you can tell the difference (in temp) between a heat chase, steam/hot water radiator pipes and actual fire extension. (true - how hot is peak white) Those temp. differences could be as much as 500 deg., therfore not causing unnecessary property damage during overhaul.
You also may have been given some bad info. Although MB's may be as acurate as a pyrometer,the unfortunate thing is, they use an analog scale to give you a measurement. YOU have to interpret the actual temp.(1" = 100 deg) so the accuracy thing goes out the window. A pyrometer can give you a temp reading with an actual number. This number may fluctuate as much as 10 deg depending on how steady your arm is. MB's use a single pixel from the focal plane array to give you a temp. reading on a sliding scale.(inside info- MB manuf. will tell you the scale is done on purpose, and pyrometers are not accurate, but the TRUTH is they are LIMITED to a sliding scale by thier contractural aggreement with the camera engine manuf) With the update rate on a MB you may have to wait a few seconds to get into scale.
I hope this info helps, and I apologize for the delay. [been innundated at work (my real job)].

FRD
NJ,PA,NY ISG dealer

6. I recently researched, demoed and tested every TIC on the market as the committee chairman for my FD. I found that ARE NOT neccesary. This option can cost several thousands of dollars, when you can buy a heat gun from Raytek (made by Raytheon - one of the largest producers of thermal imaging technology) for less than \$200. The Raytek heat gun weighs all of 1/2 pound, has a greater temperature range is far more accurate. Only downside is that is another small thing to carry. But look at the trade off - \$200 vs. \$3000...it's up to you.

7. FRD,

As someone who is regularly spreading the word on thermal imaging, I would hope you do a better job of making sure you have your facts straight.

I have a Level I Thermography (non-contact temperature measurement) certification so the following are facts based on scientific data, not backyard science.

FRD: "I did some research on Pyrometers a while ago and found them to be VERY reliable."
TIman: Pyrometers can be very reliable or accurate, however that accuracy depends on the pyrometer, the adjustments that can be made with it, the skills of the person operating it, and a number of environmental factors. If everything is perfect you can have readings accurate to less than +/- 1 degree C. However, if anyone of those factors is off, you can have readings that are off by hundreds of degrees.

FRD: "While looking for extension, you can tell the difference (in temp) between a heat chase, steam/hot water radiator pipes and actual fire extension. (true - how hot is peak white) Those temp. differences could be as much as 500 deg., therfore not causing unnecessary property damage during overhaul."
TIman: Way to many people are relying on a number or image from a thermal imager while checking for extension or conducting overhaul. If you scan a wall and identify a white area you do not need to spend 5 minutes trying to figure out how hot the white area is, nor do you need a number to tell you how hot it is, you simply walk over and check the area with your gloved hand just like you used to before any of this technology came along. You may also make a small inspection hole just like you used to because relying on the thermal imager alone may mean missing a spot if the fire is hidden behind heavy building construction, and patching a small hole is pretty cheap versus coming back an hour later when the place is on the ground. Use the thermal imager to identify which areas are hot, this will save you time, but then go back to firefighting 101. A fire could be burning in a wall, if that wall is composed of lath & plaster, layers of sheet rock, and insulation (common remodeling practice), then the actual temperature readings with the pyrometer might be just above 100 degrees, the same as if you had a hot air duct behind a single layer of sheet rock. Be very careful, and know what you are doing with your thermal imager, if not you may actually walk away from a fire or do a lot of unnecessary damage.

FRD: "You also may have been given some bad info."
TIman: You are correct FRD, much of the bad info is coming from people who are making a living off of selling thermal imagers based on bad information !

FRD: Although MB's may be as accurate as a pyrometer, the unfortunate thing is, they use an analog scale to give you a measurement. YOU have to interpret the actual temp.(1" = 100 deg) so the accuracy thing goes out the window. A pyrometer can give you a temp reading with an actual number.
TIman: Your argument of pyrometer versus microbolometer is incorrect. A microbolometer can give you a "digital" reading, or an actual number readout. There are a number of microbolometer based units than give their reading in a number format, though they are not being used in the Fire Service. You are correct that the "sliding scale" display will not make it possible to determine accuracy down to a single number. However, just because a number is there, versus a sliding scale, does not mean that the number is accurate to +/1 degree. So what is better? A sliding scale that ballparks a number (acknowledging the potential for error) or a single digit that implies it is accurate to +/- 1 degree even though it may not be.

FRD: "This number may fluctuate as much as 10 deg depending on how steady your arm is."
TIman: The number may actually fluctuate by a few hundred degrees and it has a lot more to do with than how steady your arm is. Emissivity, Surface Geometry, Wavelength Being Measured, Atmospheric Attenuation, Atmospheric Augmentation, Area of Measurement, Optical Transmission, and Background or Reflected Energy can all impact the accuracy of a measurement. Your average firefighter with a Fire Service thermal imager is not going to address any of these, so all bets are off on how accurate any measurement is going to be.

FRD: "MB's use a single pixel from the focal plane array to give you a temperature reading on a sliding scale.(inside info- MB manuf. will tell you the scale is done on purpose, and pyrometers are not accurate, but the TRUTH is they are LIMITED to a sliding scale by thier contractural aggreement with the camera engine manuf)"
TIman: real nice shot at the competition, but wrong once again. Units based on BAE (formerly Lockheed Martin) microbolometers actually use a 5x5 (25 total pixels) to make their measurement from.

FRD: "With the update rate on a MB you may have to wait a few seconds to get into scale."
TIman: the readout on the units is basically instantaneous, every bit as quick as anything else.

FRD, please do your homework and get it right, when you put bad information on here it sends people off in the wrong direction !

I apologize to the general public for my "direct" response but I am sick and tired of the garbage that has been promoted on temperature readout for the sake of selling thermal imagers. The average firefighter understands very little about the temperature readout feature on their thermal imager and it is a pure miracle someone has not been killed because they misinterpreted the information being provided. This has happened because certain manufacturers have advertised that the accuracy of their units is plus or minus 1 degree Fahrenheit, which may be true in a lab, but can be far from the truth in the real world of firefighting. I would be the first to admit temperature readout may be of value in certain circumstances, but those circumstances are very limited, because firefighting 101 will work just as well in most circumstances. Whatever your decision is, with or without temperature readout, BST with a pyrometer or microbolometer, just make sure your completely understand what you are getting into.

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

PS: FYI for those of you who may have missed some of the earlier discussions on temperature measurement features:

None of the Fire Service units on the market will give you a true reading of air temperature. This means you can crawl into a room check the ceiling and it will read only 150-200 F even though the actual air temp is 500-800 F. This is because it is reading the surface temperature of the ceiling, which can be significantly cooler than the surrounding air.

The temperature at which a room will flashover will vary depending on a number of factors. Combine this with the fact that the temperature readout will not take into account air temp and these units can't predict when a flashover will occur.

If you have questions on how temperature readout/measurement works please check some of the earlier topics or post your questions here. Used properly thermal imagers are going to save a lot of lives, used improperly someone is going to lose a life.

[ 06-28-2001: Message edited by: TIman ]

8. TIman,
Slow down, take a breather. There is no need
for hostility. Your posts, at times, sound like a crazed lunatic, but I recognize your passion for this topic.

As always, I advocate the training necessary to use these tools effectively on the fireground. Thermal Imaging cameras are not something you buy Mail Order.

Yes, the things you have posted are true, but you are not getting a \$200.00 pyrometer in your thermal imager.

By the way we were discussing temp. measurement on Fire Fighting thermal imagers, so do not attack my post regarding a sliding scale/digital on a MB camera. I was actually correct, for the discussion. (hence my post regarding contractural agreements) (it is a copyright infringement to have a DIGITAL temp. measurement on a MB FIRE SERVICE thermal imager)Not a "shot at the competition", but the behind the scenes truth.

Used in conjunction with the thermal image, I'm sure you will agree a temp. measurement is an added bonus on searches and overhaul.

Well I probably said too much already. I should have been more specific in my post, but you probably would have ripped me a new one anyway.

Mike do not read anything into this, I respect your efforts in this field, but it is not a battle.

FRD
NJ,PA,NY ISG Dealer

9. I don't want to get into this battle, but I don want to make a correction.

FRD-When you said that it's a "copyright infrigement to have DIGITAL Temp Reading on a microbolometer camera in the fire service". You are actually incorrect. I know of at least three that do. Their is only one manufactuer that can use digital readout with MB detectors made by Lockheed. If the camera has a Boeing detector then the manufacturer can have digital readout if they know how to do it.

IRalltheway

10. FRD,

I can't say for sure what you are doing outside of the Forums, but if it is real honest training on thermal imaging, then my hat goes off to you!

However I can say your last 2 comments on the Forum (and a number from the past) are what is warranting a sharp response from me.

Secondly I am responding in a harsh manner because both comments had little to do with good training information, but they were right up ISG's sales and marketing alley. Promote the Navy Evaluation and promote the Pyrometer, the same garbage that has been promoted by yourself and certain other reps on this Forum for the last 2 years.

While people have accused me in the past of making my own sales pitches, and I am sure some will continue to do so in the future, I feel no one is questioning that over 95% of what I post is valuable and accurate training information. I think the fact that I have had over 15 articles published and have made over 5 national presentations so far this year on thermal imaging also backs up that what I am saying is not just a sales and marketing pitch. I am not trying to sound cocky or arrogant, I am just relaying what I hear from people on weekly basis who don't necessarily post on the Forum but respond to me off of the Forum through email and phone calls.

This Forum is one of the only sources of information available on thermal imaging. As such it may be the only information some people may have to operate off of. This means incorrect information posted here, is incorrect information someone is using in the field, to make what might turn out to be a life or death decision.

This why I become a "crazed lunatic" when I see someone trying to pass off a bunch of bad information as if it were good, sound, factual information. When I see manufactures putting information in writing that says "temperature measurement feature accurate to plus or minus 1 degree Fahrenheit", when I hear reps in the field promoting the same garbage, and finally when I see it here on the Forums, I get real bent out of shape because it is that kind of garbage that is being promoted for the sake of sales that is going to get a firefighter killed some day in the very near future.

FRD, I am sure you deal with a lot people on a daily basis, and it is honorable that you are taking time out of your busy schedule to post information here. But there is nothing honorable about promoting bad information for the sake of selling thermal imagers. We obviously have some different opinions, and that is OK, nothing says we always have to agree. However we all have a responsibility to make sure that we clearly identify what is an opinion and what is a fact supported by scientific data. We also have a duty as trainers and educators to make sure we are providing sound and valuable information because someone's life may be riding on it one day.

I don't want anyone to fear a "TIman attack" if they make a post on the Forum. I think if you review my actions here on the Forum over the last year you will see my "attacks" have been reserved for certain manufacturer's reps who like to throw information out as if it were fact, when in reality it is not. We all make mistakes, that's ok as long as we learn from them, and no else has to pay for our mistakes. We are all entitled to our opinions, as long as we identify them as such, and do not try to pass them off as anything else. There is also nothing wrong with discussion or debate.

Being a military vet, firefighter, and instructor, I respect those who have earned my respect. FRD being a fellow firefighter and trainer you have some of my respect, but the rest is only going to come when the garbage on the Forum ceases and desists.

If anyone thinks I am off base by all means speak up. I am sorry if my direct response offends anyone but we carry out a duty where we can face death on any given day. As such we don't have the luxury to kid around or get things partially right when it comes to certain things, thermal imaging use being one of them.

FRD, I will see you at the Firehouse Expo and who knows we may work this out. And anyone else can feel free to stop by the Bullard booth to have a heart to heart with "TIman". Fair warning: if you come to fight, come prepared, because I always keep a paintball gun or supper soaker handy!

Good Luck, Be Safe,
Mike "TIman" Richardson

PS: I though the issue on Pyrometers had faded or had been cleared up, but given these posts, a number of recent emails, and phone calls it is evident more education and training needs to take place on this topic. As such I will be putting together a package of training materials on pyrometers over the next couple of weeks for distribution to anyone who wants to learn about non-contact temperature measurement. I will also try to post as much of it as I can on the forum and thermalimager.com. Maybe then this garbage on pyrometers can finally be put to rest. If you would like a copy of it when it is completed drop me an email at mike_richardson@bullard.com.

[ 07-10-2001: Message edited by: TIman ]

11. Hello again. It has been some time since I posted anything on this board, however, I do monitor it on a regular basis. I head-up ISG Thermal Systems USA, Inc. in Georgia.

There has been recent activity that prompts me to respond to this issue on the necessity of pyrometers and direct temperature measurement devices in firefighting applications.

There has (as in the past) been an entertaining and informative exchange between TIMan and FRD. However, please take this discussion for what its worth. Recall that FRD is a distributor representing ISG and TIMan is a Trainer, working for Bullard. Bullard and ISG offer competitive products. Let me just take a second to offer my two cents worth into this dispute. I will take a rather simplistic approach to this –and do not intend to turn this into an engineering debate. It is merely a top-line description.

First, lets examine TIMan’s comments that the accuracy of pyrometers can vary dependent on a number of factors, namely, Emissivity Surface Geometry, Wavelength Being Measured, Atmospheric Attenuation, Atmospheric Augmentation, Area of Measurement, and Optical Transmission. Yes, all this is true, (and more, like the temperature of certain elements within the pyrometer itself, and its exposure to certain radio frequency emissions.)

HOWEVER, let me also say that for firefighters, emissivity is really the most significant element to take note of. For example, if you respond to a scene that has a lot of unpainted shiny metal (like a McDonalds kitchen fire), your pyrometer will NOT give you good readings. This is because the emissivity of the material being measured is not consistent with the preset emissivity value set we’ve set inside the camera. (Incidentally, we are not in favor of supplying a knob on a firefighting camera to control set emissivity. We feel this is just one more unnecessary adjustment a firefighter will need to make.)

Now, for other environments that are more “normal” like a room with furniture, or wallboard, or wood, ceramic, the readings are well within the tolerable range.

Rule of thumb: if the surface your measuring is shiny (that is, you can see a reflection of yourself while looking through the thermal imager,) you cannot count on a good temperature reading. If you cannot see a reflection of yourself, your temperature reading is close to the actual temperature.

I’ve included below, an emissivity table that will give you an general idea of what kind of accuracy you can expect, while looking at some common materials. (Remember, unpainted metals are a no-no with direct temp. measurement.) For painted metals, you consider the emissivity of the paint, rather than the emissivity of the metal.

Common Construction Materials And Emissivity Values

T-ambient 293°C
T-reference 293°C
e-preset .95

Material Emissivity DDT Temp Readout Actual
Temp.
Asphalt 0.95 250°F 250°F
Brick 0.98 250°F 246°F
Ceramic 0.95 250°F 250°F
Clay 0.95 250°F 250°F
Concrete 0.96 250°F 249°F
Cloth 0.95 250°F 250°F
Glass (plate) 0.85 250°F 263°F
Gravel 0.95 250°F 250°F
Limestone 0.98 250°F 246°F
Paint 0.90 – 0.99 250°F 256-245°F
Paper 0.95 250°F 250°F
Plastics (opaque) 0.95 250°F 250°F
Rubber 0.95 250°F 250°F
Sand 0.90 250°F 256°F
Soil 0.90 – 0.98 250°F 256-246°F
Skin (human) 0.95 – 0.98 250°F 250-246°F
Water 0.93 250°F 253°F
Wood (natural) 0.90 – 0.95 250°F 256-250°F

Regarding Microbolometers Versus Pyrometers:

Pyrometers are spot non-contact thermometers that, when pointed at a surface, return the observed temperature of the object. These devices can be built into cameras, or can be purchased as a hand-held stand-alone “heat gun” like the Raytek unit cited in this string of posts. Pyrometers are used by BST based cameras because BST, being ferroelectric in nature, do not return uniform gray levels corresponding to specific temperature levels, across the entire focal plane array. Also, in the case of BST, a diffusing chopper is used that, in effect, will further confuse its ability to return correct temperature readings. (Notwithstanding, ISG has developed models that use enhanced additional special electronics to allow BST to return FPA based radiometric readings. But, these engineering samples are not cost effective and we have no intention of “productionizing” these versions.)

Now, the reason you can buy a Raytek pyrometer for \$200 yet, you must pay much more for pyrometer installed and integrated inside an ISG camera is because the performance of the part is different, and the extra engineering that occurs in the integration. For instance, a pyrometer inside a camera is susceptible to RF interference and must be electrically isolated from other components. Ground loops are not an option here. Also, when the temperature of the pyro changes, its output changes, we have to consider that in the design. Therefore, it costs more to make – its not as simple as slapping a pyrometer into the camera.

Microbolometers as radiometric devices operate on the same basic principle as pyrometers, (MBs measure temperature via the FPA.) Bear in mind, that all the same principles, constraints and caveats still apply. You have to have the electronics to drive the FPA as a radiometric device, and know the temperature of the FPA, the emissivity, etc, etc… Pyrometers are not inherently more accurate than microbolometers, and visa-versa.

TIMan argues that ISG has not made public our distance to spot temperature ratio. Well, he’s right, we haven’t published it. We feel it is not important to publish because firefighters really haven’t demanded the information. It is not important to them. Most of them don’t even know (or care) what it means. However, I can see how he would have attempted to hunt the info down because it is important information for a competitor to know, as they formulate their marketing and sales presentations, and in estimating what goes into our products, and how much it costs for us to put it in. Also, our European operation may (and do) at times use different components than US built units. We choose to mix and match these on occasion and find that flexibility advantageous. Therefore, we don’t publish specs on certain components, to retain that flexibility.

Therefore it will remain unpublished…. Sorry TIMan.

Regarding Predicting Flashover using Direct Temperature Devices:

It is our opinion that attempting to predict flash is dangerous and the corresponding correlation of data is sketchy at best. There’s too much going on in a fire to reasonably predict this. We do not recommend it.

Analog Scales versus Digital Numeric Readouts:

First, the terms Digital and Analog have been misused here. But, never mind that… What we are referring to is the ability to return a number for temperature, versus a bar to show the relative temperature.

Any camera that uses the SIM200 microbolometer camera kit from Lockheed Martin (BAE Systems) will not have numerical readouts. Cameras using this kit are Bullard MX and MSA 4000. The reason is not because Lockheed has not been able to figure it out – or that they find it better to display temperature as a bar rather than giving the firefighter a numeric temperature display. The reason is because there is a contractual obligation between Lockheed Martin and Agema (now a part of FLIR Systems). The agreement obliges Lockheed Martin to limit the use of the SIM200 camera kit as a radiometric device to only cameras made by FLIR/Agema. The agreement was made before Lockheed was aware of the potential in the fire market. They did not consider the firefighting application when they entered the agreement and quite frankly, I feel it is a step, in retrospect, they probably would do over, if they were given the chance. (as a side note, interestingly, FLIR does not even use the SIM200 in their own firefighting cameras – only in the Agema industrial stuff…

There are other microbolometer cameras that will return a numerical readout of temperature. These cameras are the FireFLIR, FLIR NavigatIR, ICC FireOptic, and Cairns Viper.

FireFLIR uses its own custom electronics to drive a Boeing bolometer.

FLIR NavigatIR is basically the same inside as FireFLIR but is handheld, has a bigger screen and more options, and is being distributed by Scott Technologies as the Scott Eagle II.

ICC FireOptic uses their own electronics to drive a Boeing bolometer (at least right now). The FireOptic is being distributed by Draeger.

Cairns Viper uses a DIOP camera kit driving a Boeing bolometer.

My feeling is that I like to have a number readout for temperature measurement, rather than a sliding scale with no numbers on it.

LASTLY:

I agree with TIMan that many of the posts on this board are less than 100% accurate –because the people who post (primarily the sales reps) do not have the correct information, and are unaware that they are incorrect. I do not believe that they deliberately plan on misleading readers. However I am always very nervous about an opinion that came from a manufacturer. I will continue to monitor this board in an attempt to flag those grossly incorrect posts, whether they are from a competitor, or from our own distributors. I’m sure Mike “TIMan” will do the same.

I am very curious about TIMan’s document on pyrometers and their accuracy. How sided is it? Is it slanted?

Mike, is this published yet?

I have become aware of situations in the past, where Bullard sales reps or distributors have greatly and incorrectly overstated the inaccuracies of pyrometer devices by only giving prospective customers the absolute worst case scenarios. (not every fire you respond to is like a McDonalds kitchen fire.) I’m not sure if Mike had any involvement in this – maybe none. Case in point, Bullard is just as responsible for smoke and mirrors in sales and marketing – the very same stuff Mike is “sick and tired” of hearing…

As far as the FireExpo show goes, I will not be there, but FRD and TIMan are supposed to be there, I think. And, I hear that ISG and Bullard booths are in close range. Close enough for Mike’s water gun to get to us. Boy, we gotta be equipped don’t we. This is gonna be fun. (We’re trying to get E-One to loan us an engine with 2000GPM pump.)

Those of you going to the show, follow the water puddles to our booths. Beware of live water fire. (You can also take a look at these cameras while your there…

And, lastly in closing, ISG’s opinion is just that, and may or may not be consistent with, or include the opinions of our distributors.

Thanks again, hope this wasn’t too boring.

David A. Little
ISG Thermal Systems USA, Inc.

P.S. Sorry about the emissivity table but firehouse.com software appears to dislike my table.

[ 07-10-2001: Message edited by: dalittle ]

12. Mr. Little,

Welcome back, and thanks very much for taking the time to put up the valuable information. I would argue with some of it, but that's not news to anyone!

In response:

Temperature measurement has been almost completely misunderstood by the Fire Service, largely in part because it has been largely misrepresented by the TI sales force who have been using it as a sales & marketing tool. I know this to be a fact because I have traveled this country for the last 2 years from North to South and East to West, from big cities to small towns, and there is no question the average Jake on the street knows next to nothing on temperature measurement. It is way past time for the brothers and sisters to really understand what is going on, because if they don't they are only going to end up misinterpreting the information and placing themselves in harms way.

As such I am going to quit worrying about who is spreading the garbage, and make sure the information is out there so the brothers and sisters can decide on their own who is spreading the garbage. Then they can look the sales guy in the face and say "nice try but take your garbage on temperature measurement to the city dump because we don't need it here".

Once again this is going to be factual information on temperature measurement as it applies to firefighting. Not pie in the sky laboratory stuff that no one cares about in a burning building. Not information that makes temperature measurement look good or bad, just the facts and only the facts.

My job is to make sure that everyone understands the strength and weaknesses of thermal imaging so that they can use it safely and efficiently. From here out on the TI Forum that is what I am going to do. My first line of business will be to answer posts with facts and experiences. Second pick various topics on thermal imaging and post information on them here. Finally, respond when I believe bad information is being put out.

I welcome everyone to join the effort and if anyone feels I have left the realm of factual information and drifted in the sea of sales and marketing garbage please let me know.

When the local equipment salesman shows up you can figure out pretty quickly when they are giving you good information, when they are making a sales pitch, and when they are flat out lying to you. Unfortunately most people can't say the same when the TI salesman shows up. If it's up to me that's going to change. I also challenge those of you out there with the knowledge to join me.

Check back frequently for the information updates!

Good Luck, Be Safe,
Mike "TIman" Richardson

PS: David, after further consideration, I will respond to some of your comments because they basically are an outright attack on me and my credibility.

First off my report on temperature measurement is not published, you can check back here and you will see it in the coming weeks. This will give everyone, including yourself, the ability to challenge it in a public forum. And NO it will not be slanted. I would say that if I am not the current leader in having articles published on thermal imaging that I am close (over 20 and counting). Last time I checked most major publications are not into letting someone publish incorrect or slanted material. I would be the first to admit my track record is not perfect, but it has to be currently running at about 99% or I wouldn't be publishing articles and presenting information on thermal imaging all over the world (over 30 states and 6 countries).

Second, I am responsible for training Bullard's TI Sales Force and that includes information on non-contact temperature measurement. Much of the material I use came from my Level 1 Thermography Certification Course (which means it is based on science), and much of it has come from my practical experiences in the field using all types of temperature measurement devices in all types of applications (which means it is practical real world). You will see much of this information in the coming posts here. As such the sales people I have trained understand temperature measurement. However you and I both know that when a sale is on the line the truth or facts may get exaggerated a little bit. However telling someone to expect inaccuracy from temperature measurement might cost a competitor a sale, but it is not going to get anyone injured or killed. Telling them they are getting an accurate number to plus or minus 1 degree Fahrenheit in all situations will definitely help with the sale, but it might also just get someone injured or killed!

Finally anyone who sells a piece of equipment to a firefighter who will be relying on that piece of equipment to keep them alive has a duty and responsibility to make sure that they are realistically and accurately representing the capabilities of that product. If they fail to do so they may ultimately end up costing a brother or sister their life because they had an inaccurate or unrealistic expectation based on the information provided. I have crawled into hell on many an occasion, with the only thing standing between me and death, being my personnel protective equipment. I have ventured to this potential point of no return because I have the confidence and knowledge that my equipment will allow me to do so. If it ever turns out that my expectations for protection were based on bad information then I may find myself returning home from the call in a box or body bag. There is more to fire equipment than dollars signs, and I remind the sales and marketing people I work with of this every day. A "little white lie" made in the name of making a sale may very well end up costing someone a life. To my brothers and sisters do not forget this. Do everything you can to make sure that the information you are trusting your lives to is accurate.

Enough said, everyone make sure you do everything you can to come home to your families and friends at the end of the call.

[ 07-11-2001: Message edited by: TIman ]

13. IRalltheway,
Thanks for the correction on MB's and Digital readouts. I havent seen one yet, but I will look them up in Balt.

dalittle,
Thanks for the F.A.S.T. response on this topic. I hope everyone got something out of it.

FRD
NJ,PA,NY ISG Dealer

14. FRD,

I'll help you! The MBs that use digital readout are ICC, Fireflir, Eagle Imager II, and I'm pretty sure the Viper w/Boeing detector.

IR

15. I'd get the transmitter instead of the temp indicator.

The transmitter gives you more versatility. Use it for training, actaully videoing the fire ground ops, RIT, critiques and so on. All you get with the temp. measurement is maybe how hot something is. I have yet to see one in use that's works as advertised. In fact a local department that has one on it never uses it, they ask for our imager instead.

16. I would like to address the original question regarding the temperature measurment from a fire fighters point of view rather than a TIC sales rep, trainer, or even vp of ops (apologies David, your post was very informative and in your tactiful manner) I have used a TIC in many actual incidents and in several classes with live burns. Here is the gist: The video telemetry is probably worth more in my opinion-simply for the training (not much use on incidents) and the temp measurement can be useful-IF you have the money to spend and IF you train with it and IF you do what you should do with all tools-integrate it into solid basic fire fighting fundamentals. Important to mention-Davids post was right on-DO NOT use direct temperature measurement to predict flashover. Use experience and training to not only predict but also prevent flashover. One last note, personally I would prefer the video overlay feature available on certain makes of cameras, because they can be used for numerous situations (haz mat, overhaul, etc.) In our area just this past week a run away child was located with one. The video feature greatly enhances the use of the camera when there is visible light available (and even in many fires we are not in total darkness) Good luck and if you would like more info please email me at boesfwfd@aol.com

17. TIman, got a question for you. You are very vocal in the fact that temperature measurement in fire service TIC's isn't very accurate. You also talk about many presentations on Thermography that you have given. So, why would a company that is marketing for Bullard nationally be running around showing your new prototype MB camera with temperature measurement? I know it is still a prototype camera and all but you seem to bash people for their view on temperature measurement and your own company is working on developing a camera with it.

He (the marketing rep)was telling departments that the camera would be available in AUG? Is it an IAFC teaser? He was also quoting prices to a local Chief.

[ 07-29-2001: Message edited by: LP310 ]

18. Hello All,

First, I am not real sure what you are talking about when you say a new microbolometer based prototype camera?

If you are referring to the Bullard MX (VOx microbolometer based) it is not a prototype it has been in production for about a year.

You are correct that this unit does have a temperature measurement feature. Why?

About 2 years ago Bullard lost some sales to companies like ISG and ISI because their units had the video overlay and the temperature measurement features and Bullard's BST based unit did not. Even though everyone in the sales force was screaming for those features to be added (so we could equal the competitors offering) they were not added to the BST based units because they were additional components, that carried an additional cost, that were really of no extra value, and truth be known without proper training and understanding were an accident waiting to happen. Instead Bullard left them off and started an education campaign to try and counter the sales and marketing garbage going around on the features.

Then the MX microbolometer based unit came along. Since it already had the temperature measurement ability built into the microbolometer (no extra component or cost), was better than the pyrometer based temperature measurement feature that had to be added to the BST based units (better distance-to-spot ratio and more accurate aiming), and we were ready to present it for what it really was, it was released.

There have been all kinds of discussion on why it was released as an approximation feature (sliding scale display), versus and actual number feature, but those discussions really have more to do with competitors trying to get a leg up on each other than anything else.

Is it important for someone using a TI to know how hot a white area on the display really is or to know where the real remaining hot spots are located? Yes!

Do you need a temperature measurement feature to accomplish this? No!

In the following week I am going to rap up my work and put the finishing touches on my presentation for temperature measurement. I will then make every effort to get the information out on this forum, on Bullard's website, and any other way I can. Maybe then the Fire Service will really have what it takes to fully understand this feature.

And to those of you who will be at Fire-Rescue International in New Orleans, feel free to stop by the Bullard booth for a copy of the presentation and a demonstration of how a temperature measurement feature really works. Then you can see and understand for yourself just how much garbage has been spread on the accuracy and value of this feature.

For those manufactures out there who would also like to show everyone how your particular temperature measurement feature works and just how accurate it is also please feel free to stop by. This will not be a "dog and pony" show, just a showcase of the science and facts associated with non-contact temperature measurement. By the way there will also be a 3rd party representative there with a background and certification in thermography (science of non-contact temperature measurement) in case anyone wants to cry foul or question my ethics in the matter.

Once and for all if you really want the truth on this matter it will be there for you to see first-hand or in the report. No sales pitch, just science and how it will or will not work in the world of firefighting.

See you in the booth at Fire-Rescue International, and thanks to all of those of who stopped by at Firehouse Expo to chat.

Good Luck, Be Safe,

Mike "TIman" Richardson
Bullard TI Training Specialist

PS: just a story for those of you who may trust certain manufacturers for your information on thermal imaging and additional features.

I have seen this demo dome more than once, and just saw it at Firehouse Expo.

Competitor's Rep asks the firefighter to look at a Haz Mat placard hanging on the wall with the TI, and asks if they can read the information on it using the thermal image from the TI?

Firefighter replies, "I can see the outline of the placard but I can't read the information on it".

Rep flips on the video overlay feature and says, "can you read it now". Firefighter replies in amazement, "oh yeah I can read it now!"

Rep goes on to say, "if you had a victim behind a glass window you could not see them with the thermal imager because their IR signature would not pass through the glass, but with the video overlay feature you would because it can see through the glass".

Firefighter in total amazement walks over to the Bullard booth and asks me, "does your unit have video overlay?"

I respond, "no because it really has little benefit, especially when you look at the cost and potential drawbacks associated with it". Firefighter says, "not based on what I just saw".

I say, "take this thermal imager and look at that sign, can you read it?" Firefighter says, "not without the video overlay".

I say, "now move the TI to the side about 6 inches, can you read the sign with your eyes?" Firefighter says, "of course".

I then ask, "so why do you need video overlay to read the information on the placard or sign, why not just use your eyes or even better yet in the case of Haz Mat a pair of binoculars?"

Firefighter responds, "because my eyes won't work in low light or smoke, why do you think I am using the thermal imager?"

I respond, "the video overlay is just like your eyes or a video recorder, it also will not work in low light or smoke".

Firefighter responds, "so if I can't see it with my eyes, the video overlay feature can't see it"

I respond, "correct, if the video overlay feature can allow you to read information or see a victim behind glass you really don't need it, you could see the same thing just by using your eyes".

Firefighter responds, "so the video overlay isn't doing anything I couldn't do just by using my own 2 eyes"

I respond, "correct"

Firefighter responds, "guess that guy just got me to take the bait, hook line and sinker"

I respond, "unfortunately you weren't the first and you won't be the last"

Please make sure you aren't the next one taking the bait!

19. To answer your question LP310. The detector "engine" that is in the MX is also the same "engine" that is in the Evolution 4000. They are produced by Lockheed Martin that way and can't be changed unless they one pay for the re-engineering and that's if Lockheed will even do it or two they have another speciality company design the electronics that will allow them to have their own features. This is option is very expensive and their are not a lot of companies out their that do it and that don't already have their own camera on the market.

IR

20. A couple of things to reply to from the point of a FIRE FIGHTER NOT A SALES REP!!

1)Video overlay is a very useful feature, yes it does allow vision in low light and smoke that your eyes cant get on thier own, and moreover video overlay is not just 100% video, but 50% video and 50% IR. If you were a fire fighter you would see the obvious advantage. People need to remember this-why would you bash a feature on a camera that you dont sell? You are trying to sell cameras. I dont fault you for it, but people who read these posts need to know why you say what you do.

2) If you are purchasing a camera, if you are purchasing a camera-know if you are buying a kit camera or a camera built by the company that is putting thier name on it.
As I understand it, one sign of a kit camera is not having the ability to assign a number to the direct temperature measurement feature, but rather leaving the sliding scale feature in the kit that they install into their housing. If this is not the case I hope that one of the sales reps will explain it correctly.

3) Do not rely on someone elses word when choosing your camera. Get several makes of cameras on loan and test them side by side in live burn training. Do not have your crews trained by sales reps. Fire training with TIC technology is still fire training and should be delivered by certified fire instructors. Remember TIC technology is not a replacement for building good basic fundamental skills, it is a tool that adds another way to use those skills.

Stay safe!

21. 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

22. 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

23. 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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