TI Issues, What do you think ?
I had my doubts that it was going to happen, but there is no question that thermal imaging has finally gone "prime time". The sales numbers are through the roof, more States are working on legislated funding, its in every magazine and conference.
While there should be no doubt that everyone getting their hands on a thermal imager is a great thing, I think there are some issues that really need to be addressed.
No Direction - even though thermal imaging has been out in force for over 5 years, with numbers now exceeding 10,000 units in the field, there is still no NFPA standard that addresses thermal imaging. As such there is also no supporting materials from IFSTA or anyone else.
Lack of Available Training - while some departments have made their best effort and a few training agencies are trying to do something with thermal imaging most people still cant find the training they need.
"False Prophets" - while I would applaud anyone for trying to put together training or a presentation on thermal imaging there are many who are stepping up but falling short. I have first hand knowledge of many instances where a trainer or presenter has provided information on thermal imaging that was wrong, but more importantly could get someone killed if they follow it the field.
"Superman Syndrome" - while there is no question that thermal imaging can do a lot, it can not guarantee that its users will be free from injury or death. If we are not careful someone is going to be standing up, moveing to deep to fast, or operateing without a reference point and they are going to pay for it with their life.
I think I am not alone in these observations. What do you think ?
I hate to raise a stink without offering a solution so here are my thoughts:
I know both the NFPA and many training agencies are "thinking about thermal imaging" but the bottom line is time is not on our side. Without some action soon, someone is going to die. I am sure if we all write letters, send emails, make phone calls things might end up moving a little bit faster.
If you get the opportunity to attend a training session or presentation by all means go. Just make sure you check the credentials of the individual claiming to be the expert. Or make sure that you verify what was said from another independent source.
Without training and SOPs there is no question someone is going to do something real stupid because they are using a thermal imager with no direction. Training and help putting together an SOP are both out there, it will take some work to make it happen, but someone's life is well worth it.
I believe we are moving in the right direction, but there are dangers all around us, and if we are not very careful a life saving tool may end up being a life taking tool.
What issues do you think we need to be addressing and what do you think we need to be doing about them?
Good Luck, Be Safe,
Bullard TI Training Specialist
For TI Training : www.safe-ir.com www.thermalimager.com