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  1. #1
    Forum Member WFDjr1's Avatar
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    Default Helmet mounted TIC's

    I was reading an article in Fire Rescue magazine the other day, when I saw a review of helmet mounted TIC's. It seems that a viewing screen comes down over your BA mask, and the cameras run on 9 volt batteries. Anyone tried one of these before?
    These are my opinions, not those of my career department, my volunteer company, or my affiliates. And by the way, I'm not a Junior.

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  2. #2
    Capt Stretch
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    Default Just prototypes

    From what I understand, the products described are prototypes. You can try them at fire shows (FDIC, IAFC, etc), but they are not available to buy, and they won't stand up to the heat of a fire. A good step in the right direction, but really not an option for fighting fires.

  3. #3
    Forum Member Bones42's Avatar
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    One of the first available TIC's was from Cairns and was/is their helmet mounted. Had a camera mounted on a helmet with a separate screen that would flip down when in use. Was very nice in that both hands were then free for use. Was very bad in fact that if the camera was hit and pushed off center, you would think you were looking in front of you, but would actually be looking at an angle. Other downfall of helmet mounted systems, not all are easily interchangable. Once the guy with the helmet camera runs low on air, you lose the camera, it is not easy to disconnect all the cables and camera mounts to switch to another guy. Yes, the helmet itself can be swapped, but the battery pack and other cables were stapped on to the guy and need to be swapped also. Handhelds are simply passed from guy to guy. Try them, compare them to handhelds, see what likes/dislikes you find and go with what works best for you.

    I believe Cairns still offers their's and also one called FireFlir ?

  4. #4
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    The helmet mounted camera is in production.

    The SCBA facepiece mounted camera is in prototype, soon to be in production.

    We took both TICs into the burnhouse for quite a while and then the same TICs through 6 flashes in the flashover trainer with the TIC wearers sitting up front taking the heat.

    The TICs in the article are easy to hand off without haveing to swap helmets (or a facepiece) and a battery pack.

    The only problem we had was the boom on the monical seperated on one of the original prototypes of the helmet mount version. That issue had already been addressed in the later versions.
    Last edited by ScottCook; 07-25-2002 at 04:55 PM.
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  5. #5
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    Unhappy CairnsIRIS

    Cairns hasn't sold a helmet mounted system in 2 years, but they are still supporting them.

    TIC_Girl
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  6. #6
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    Personally do not care for the Cairns. Its to heavy, bulky and the wire is a pain in the butt. We use it as a backup now since we have 3 Flirs. They are nicer and more user friendly but they have their drawbacks also. We are looking into a couple hand helds but it is unknown if we will purchase one.

  7. #7
    MembersZone Subscriber ff7134's Avatar
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    My neighbors to the west has a Cairns helmet mount, and put it this way they are looking at handhelds now. I used their in a training exercise once, its very front heavy and a general pain to use I'd rather have no TIC as to have that monstosity.
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  8. #8
    Forum Member backsteprescue123's Avatar
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    Morning Pride has a very small TIC that is mounted in front of the shield on a Ben2Plus i think. Havent seen one in action yet.
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  9. #9
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    Morning Pride has a helmet mounted camera called then Fire Warrior that is excellent for first response & attack. It only uses 2 double "AA" bateries and has a quick release mount so it can be used by more than one member. It also floats so if you are working on or near water you don't have to worry about losing it. Seen it, tried it. works great. The best thing is you don't need any hands so it doesn't tie anyone up. The wearer is still a functioning member.

  10. #10
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    Default

    Originally posted by Bones42

    I believe Cairns still offers their's and also one called FireFlir ?
    We bought the FireFlir TIC about five years ago. It is rather bulky on the helmet and difficult to use as there are various buttons and settings.

    We have since purchased three Bullard T3Max's (two last year and one this year). They prove virtually idiot proof. Along with the optional truck mount charger, you just pull it out and push one button.

    We plan on buying two more Bullards next year (one T3Max and one TI Commander).

  11. #11
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    Default TIC

    We have a cairns helmet mount in service - actually we were the one of the first in Southern Alberta to get one. I have found it is very cumbersome to put on. If you have a sore neck - dont use it! I do like having my hands free to be a working member of the team. I believe cairns has an update that eliminates the waist battery pack. The battery replaces the counter weight on the helmet. We are currently looking for a new TIC - preferrably helmet mount again. Hand helds are good but it eliminates your usefulness - and if you have limited manpower - hands free is better.

  12. #12
    Forum Member Rescue101's Avatar
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    Dave,Help an old line bull here.How does a handheld limit your usefullness?Ever hear of a sling? I can advance hose,work nozzles,FE tools and whatever else needs doing.Take a second,scan the area,and right back to it.Beats getting tunnelvision from having the camera in your face all the time,be it handheld or helmet mount.I guess a helmet mounts ok but I've got no mobility issues with sling. T.C.

  13. #13
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    You got me on the sling - any of the hand helds I have used have been just that(hand held). I cant argue the validity of both types of cameras, its just what you are used to. I like the helmet mount because its right there - dont have to put anything down or lift anything to my eyes. Not sure on the tunnel vision - We were in an industrial building working on the fire from below when I heard a crash and saw that the concrete walkway was coming down - just the fact that I heard something and was able to look right at it without delay really sold me on the camera.

    The other problem we have had is with celulose insulation - it doesnt flame up but smoulders with high intensity. With the helmet mount I am able to focus in on the burn area and trailers without having to keep lifting a hand held up. In that situation your not dealing with copious amounts of smoke and are able to take your fucus off of the camera and use your periferal vsion, scanning your eyes past the screen to make sure Im still in the right area.

    Tell me more about the sling though - still interested in the different types available.!

    Thanks
    Dave
    Last edited by Dave404; 11-22-2004 at 03:09 PM.

  14. #14
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    Hello All,

    I actually had just about quit checking this forum because it had been months since there had been any posts, I am glad to see it is rolling again!

    Many moons ago (1996), you had 2 choices, a Hand-Held MSA Argus, or a Helmet-Mounted Cairns IRIS, needless to say things have come a long way since then!

    If you go back on these forums you would see some pretty interesting exchanges and you can see how the world of thermal imaging has evolved. I can remember those who argued that Helmet-Mounted / Hands-Free was the only way to go and the Hand-Held TICs would not last because they were not “practical for firefighting”. Well the Helmet Mounted Cairns IRIS came and went, and the FLIR FireFLIR came and went, and for a while there were no Helmet-Mounted TICs in production. Needless to say the Hand-Held units have just kept coming. A few years back the Hands-Free units started to come back, initially it was not clear if they were actually going to make it into production or they were just going to be prototypes. The Morning Pride Fire Warrior ( www.morningpride.com/products/default.asp?p=6 ), also sold under a number of other names, has made it to official production status and is out on the streets. There are also a number of others that are out there, but I would say their status as of now is questionable ( http://www.stee.com.sg/newsrm/Vol16N..._NPpg12-13.pdf / www.gbsolo.co.uk/Thermal-Imaging-Cameras.asp ).

    When it comes to Hand-Held vs. Hands-Free I think the earlier posts have made some very good points. In a perfect world you would have a Hands-Free TIC so you can see with the TIC and also have both of your hands free at the same time. Unfortunately we do not live or work in a perfect world and there are some trade offs when using a Hands-Free TIC. Many of those were also hit on such as ease of transfer, challenge in keeping viewing screen lined up, etc.

    For now I would argue like others, any TIC Hand-Held or Hands-Free, is better than no TIC. I honestly think the success or failure of a particular TIC has a lot to do with how well the operator has been trained and how well they can operate it. The perfect TIC has not been built and the key is to know the strengths of your TIC and take advantage of them and know the weaknesses of your TIC and work around them. Just like Rescue101 pointed out, you can use a Hand-Held TIC very proficiently by using a scan-and-move technique, rather than keeping the TIC glued to your facepiece. There are now thousands of TICs out there with more being sold every day, but it seems that for the most part quality TIC training is still lagging behind.

    If you have not had some serious classroom and hands-on training with your TIC, then you are probably not getting the most out of it, and may actually be putting yourself in harms way. Please check out SAFE-IR (www.safe-ir.com) if you have any questions on TICs or TIC training.

    We have been saying for over 5 years the day will come when a TIC will be built into your SCBA with a Heads-Up display, while progress is being made with the current Hands-Free units we still have a way to go.

    Comments or Questions, please jump in, hopefully we can bring this very important topic and forum back to life.

    Good Luck, Stay Safe,
    Mike Richardson
    Captain, Training Officer
    St Matthews FD, Louisville KY
    "aka TIman"
    richardson@stmatthewsfd.com

    TI Training = www.safe-ir.com

    The information and views above are in no way associated with my employer, and are strictly my own.

  15. #15
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    Thanks for the links Capt.Richardson, I was in contact with my morning pride rep and he will be sending out a fire warrior for us to demo, he will also send a hand held unit so that we can compare them.
    Capt.Richardson, do you know of anybody using the european model and any feedback on them?
    Dave

  16. #16
    Forum Member Rescue101's Avatar
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    Dave,Bullard offers a "Gearkeeper"option for the T3,The big Bullards come with a sling,our Scotts come with a sling but what I have/use is this.A 12-15 foot length of webbing made into a continuous loop with a carabiner or two.Just clip the camera onto the loop and sling it around the side where it's easy to get when you need it.Scan your area,pick your next "reference point"swing the camera away,advance to the point and repeat.You also can loop the hose with the sling so your shoulder holds the hose and leave your hand free for the camera.Plus you can use the loop as a Rit tool.My impression of your collapse scenerio is that you "heard"the collapse before you saw it with your camera so the "mounting"would not be the determining factor.When I say "tunnelvision"I refer to constantly looking at the viewfinder without taking "breaks"to touch walls,referencing yourself to position and location features,escape and protection points,etc.Otherwise known as "reality checks".By my experience,on a three man crew with one camera,if the camera "screws up"it will be the two crew without the device that will lead the "camera"out of harms way.Reason:They advanced the "old fashioned way"and know where they are in the structure.Been proven time and time again in our training program.Did that"paint the picture"for you?T.C.
    Last edited by Rescue101; 11-24-2004 at 12:37 PM.

  17. #17
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    Picture Painted - Thanks for the advice, we will put it to the test when we get the demo's.
    As for the training of the cameras, dont get me wrong - out TIC is a tool and is treated as such, we operate with a 3 man crew in structures with the TIC man aiming the stream and looking for hazards - havent had it quit yet but we are well aware that if your in the middle of a room "out of touch" yer toast!
    Valid points though - training is what its all about the more you use the camera that you have the more comfortable you get with it.
    Thanks
    Dave

  18. #18
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    Rescue101 – Hats off to you Brother, good job explaining the use of a strap and the point-to-point scan and move technique. In all of the training that I have done I really notice that people have a tendency to want to keep the TI up to their face and try to move and operate. As you well know it actually slows you down, plus you can’t do a lot with one hand while trying to hold and view the TI at the same time. Also great point about using the 1 inch webbing as a strap on the bigger thermal imagers so you can also use it for other things like making an anchor point, hasty harness, or drag strap. The “Gear Keeper” or self-retracting strap also works real well on the smaller TIs. The name of the game is to get your “carry/strap” techniques down ahead of time. I can remember when the Bullard TI first came out and people used to hook the carry strap to the top D-Ring on the front of the unit, unfortunately the strap would have a tendency to fall in front of the lens and users would think there was a problem with the TI not realizing it was just the strap blocking the view. I can also remember getting back some “burned up” TIs for service because users would lay a TI down in structure and then have to bail or forget about it, then they would have to go back and find it during overall. Using a strap seems like a “no brainer”, but you really need to practice, and you really need to remember to use it, if you do it will pay off big time. PS – just make sure when you use a strap that you can get out of it if you get tangled up in something.

    Dave404 – To the best of my knowledge no one is using the “Euro TI” in the US. I have always found it interesting that TI use in the Fire Service actually first started in Europe back in the early 1990s, not in the US like a lot of people believe. Fire Service Thermal Imaging didn’t hit the US until the mid 1990s, but when it did it caught on big time with the US taking the lead in manufacturing and use in the late 1990s. Also interesting that as the US market was taking off the European market went on the decline. It now seems like the manufacturing and use in Europe and the Far East have been steadily picking up over the last couple years, not sure if the two markets will run in parallel or if the European or Far East market will overtake the US market. If you think about it every other type of camera we get (video or still) comes from the Far East. The US market has gone through a lot and I am sure it will continue to advance, however it would not surprise me if the Foreign markets don’t start to have an impact on the US market.

    Good luck with your evaluation, if you have any specific questions post them or drop me an email.

    Good Luck, Stay Safe,
    Mike Richardson
    Captain, Training Officer
    St Matthews FD, Louisville KY
    "aka TIman"
    richardson@stmatthewsfd.com

    TI Training = www.safe-ir.com

    The information and views above are in no way associated with my employer, and are strictly my own.

  19. #19
    Forum Member Rescue101's Avatar
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    Mike,If the facts be known,your work was an integral part of my schooling on Ti's before I signed up for the State team.That followed up with some good natured "sparring"with your counterpart JB.Bullard has ALWAYS had some good people on their TI crew and they have brought a wealth of information to us less fortunate.I learn more and more about these wonderful tools every time out and our information base is ever expanding.Regretfully,my "line" days are winding down;36+ years of being a dept pack mule are starting to take their toll.Plus my "talents"are being called upon more often in the upper echelon,due to restructuring.I've now got a great boss that's moving the outfit ahead and things are starting to rock.But there will always be a soft spot for you and the others who invested so much of your time to make our jobs safer and easier(if that's possible in this business).T.C.

  20. #20
    Forum Member Maverick9110E's Avatar
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    i know im a n00b to the fire scene but what about this idea. put a hud in the flip down eye visor of the helmet?

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