Thread: Use of your TIC

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    Question Use of your TIC

    I was just trying to get some opinions on everybody's use of their TIC. I volunteer with a mid-sized volunteer department that runs about 500 calls a year, strictly fire and rescue, no EMS. Don't get me wrong, we get our share of working fires, but the majority of our calls are for odor of smoke, odor of gas, smoke in the building, etc, etc. I'm sure everybody out there gets the same kind of runs. We use our TIC more on these types of calls than at a working structure. Our usual use is to find any type of heat in walls, overheated wiring etc. On a dwelling fire with no entrapment, there isn't much use for a thermal besides overhaul to find hot spots. Trying to find some other department's perspectives on this. Thanks alot, stay safe brothers.

    Matt

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    Actually Matt they have just as many uses on a working fire as you have listed for day to day stuff.All of the uses you mentioned are great,and the fact you use the tool often speaks well of your Dept.But I ask you to consider this,start "mapping"structure fires and training burns just as you do on none fire events.As you gain experience you will find that the camera will let you accurately project fire size,direction,potential extensions,and pre existing vent points.And then there is everybody's favorite,Overhaul.T.C.

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    Thanks for the input Rescue101. I appreciate getting other people's opinions on things. The uses for the TIC that you listed in your reply sound great. I'm anxious to get into a training burn to try them out. Does your dept. have a TIC, and if so, what brand name and such. The camera we have is slightly outdated, and the charger for it doesn't work right half the time, we have to take the batteries out and charge them separate from the camera. It's a pain. Anyway, thanks again, Stay safe brothers.

    Matt

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    Matt,We currently have two cameras both Scott Eagle 1's.They aren't my first choice but any camera is better than no camera.The suggestions I posted are based on methods taught by Maine Fire Training & Education.I work as a per diem Fire Instructor on the West division TI training team under Lead Instructor Tim Chute.This team has extensive Fireground experience totalling over a hundred years of combined experience.The training provided is a intense entry level training,with heavy emphasis on image interpretation and Safety.One of our own top shelf Instructors who had not been involved in the course took it,and gave high marks for the delivery format to the big bosses.This program has also allowed me to use almost every kind of Fire cam under working conditions.Which allows me to be slightly opinionated in my quest for best camera.T.C.

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    We have used our TIC to scan the surrounding area of a night-time vehicle (obviously set) and/or dumpster fires on the chance that the fire setter is admiring his/her handiwork. Haven't caught anyone yet but we'll keep trying.
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    Question

    Rescue 101, During your work with Imaging Camaras, are you real fond
    of any particular unit. I am most interested in feed back on the MSA
    4000 and in comparison with the Scott Eagle II.

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    We don't have many Eagle 2's around so I have limited experience with that unit.We've used the MSA's with good results.For ease of operation and being basically firefighter proof a lot of Depts in the region where I instruct favor the Talisman K-90(The banana)The "Red"Bullard and the great "blue ox",the mini Bullard or its cousin the ISG K-80.If you used one extensively you might like the 4000 or the Eagle 2.I PERSONALLY don't care for the color screen,I prefer the simple yet high definition of the K-90.As instructors we are not to play favorites(But I have one),narrow your selection thru solid information,dealer and service availability,and in the field testing under live (small)fire and heavy smoke conditions.Did I mention I liked fruit?For the money the Mini Bullard is a hell of a camera for down and dirty work.As far as I know right now,if you are into transmitting images to your command vehicle,the K-90 is the only camera CURRENTLY using encryption(but this stuff changes fast so someone else might by now).Now we get to the critical stuff,Lil' blue ox,Cheap and a fair picture,to the "Lexus"(banana)which is in the oh my god how are we going to pay for that end of the spectrum with the 4000 and the Eagle 2 somewhere in the middle.Last but not least the K-90 has an optional feature that can be handy if you do haz-mat,it can be ordered with a video overlay which allows you to use the camera as either a video cam or a TI cam.Ultimately it's you folks who have to use it,so take your time,get demo units,work them under real conditions,talk to others who use the finalists you select(different ways to get this info)and choose wisely.One you have one and LEARN HOW TO USE IT PROPERLY you will wonder how we ever did this job without them.One bit of CRITICAL INFORMATION that I didn't mention earlier is that NO CAMERA that I'm currently familiar with is INTRINSICALLY SAFE,DO NOT USE THEM IN A FLAMMABLE ATMOSPHERE.T.C.
    Last edited by Rescue101; 12-27-2002 at 10:17 PM.

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    Rescue101, Thank you for the detailed reply. I will definatly check out a third camara. As we put them to a test I will give you our feedback. Thanks again.

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    As Rescue101 noted, there are a number of uses for TI's at a structure fire. They can be used in size up, helping to identify where exactly the fire might be located. They can help identify extensive heat build up in the attic or basement, possibly changing your strategies for fighting the fire. TI's will help you negotiate the fire building faster, and place the water more directly on the fire, thus reducing overall property damage. The TI in a structure fire can also help monitor structural integrity; this particular use has saved DOZENS of firefighters' lives over the past few years.

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    Originally posted by Rescue101
    As far as I know right now,if you are into transmitting images to your command vehicle,the K-90 is the only camera CURRENTLY using encryption(but this stuff changes fast so someone else might by now).Now we get to the critical stuff,Lil' blue ox,Cheap and a fair picture,to the "Lexus"(banana)which is in the oh my god how are we going to pay for that end of the spectrum with the 4000 and the Eagle 2 somewhere in the middle.Last but not least the K-90 has an optional feature that can be handy if you do haz-mat,it can be ordered with a video overlay which allows you to use the camera as either a video cam or a TI cam.Ultimately it's you folks who have to use it,so take your time,get demo units,work them under real conditions,talk to others who use the finalists you select(different ways to get this info)and choose wisely.One you have one and LEARN HOW TO USE IT PROPERLY you will wonder how we ever did this job without them.One bit of CRITICAL INFORMATION that I didn't mention earlier is that NO CAMERA that I'm currently familiar with is INTRINSICALLY SAFE,DO NOT USE THEM IN A FLAMMABLE ATMOSPHERE.T.C.
    Both CairnsViper and ISG use digital transmission. Like everything else in life, there are advantages and disadvantages to digital transmission. Those with a digital cell phone would understand. It is also important to note that the video overlay option available from ISG and ISI creates a 50% thermal/50% video image. The video only works in environments where your eyes will work. In dark environments with low thermal difference, the result will be a black picture.

    Otherwise, right on the money as usual: talk to other FD's, train extensively, and realize that NO TI is intrinsically safe.

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    We have 5 trucks in the city, all carry a tic. Hazmat and Medic LT also carry one.

    Our guys have gotten creative. They will use them on accidents at night when we have an ejection, as well as many other uses. If the area is just too big to search with a handheld cam, we'll call AIR1 in and he'll use the FLIR system

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    At an accident scene you can use the tic to read the seats, to see if the amount of seats that had been sat in is the same as the amount of victims you find. Also, make peace with the police and help them read the thermal skid marks left from the accident. You can leave your hood where they start, or some other marker. It all depends on environment and time as to whether or not you will be able to see anything.
    Transmitters. The CairnsVIPER has not only has digital Spread, but also has an internal FM option. I know the recording system that Cairns uses was used in a fire investigation by the ATF and it was extremely helpful. Recording an incident can also be helpful in finding lost brothers, if there was a building collapse. The people that worry that it could be used against them, should just drive over the tape if they think it will be a problem

    Rescue101, you do NOT sound like a trainor, you sound like a salesman for your brother FF who sells the ISG! A real training company to talk to would be Safe IR at www.safe-ir.com , they DO NOT ENDORSE OR GIVE YOU AN OPINION ON A CAMERA- THEY GIVE YOU ONLY THE FACTS.

    You should always test all cameras in a Class A burn, and treat it like you would in a real fire.
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    Tic girl,not knowing your background and years of service(your page is incomplete)I have no way of knowing what your competency levels with a camera are.I would assume by the flaming you've given me here that you are NOT an ISG fan.Had you bothered to read the many posts I have posted here you will find that YES I like the ISG product but you will find that I advise EVERYBODY to narrow their selections to three units and test them in their community to SUIT THEIR NEEDS.We have had people thru the Safe IR group and I will put the State of Maine Trainers up against them in training value ANY DAY OF THE WEEK.Great people at Safe IR.We have great people too.I teach cameras roughly 26 to thirty weeks a year,You?Being able to use the many products available today allows one to form EDUCATED opinions about a product.MY OPINION based on hundreds of hours of camera use is that I find the resolution of the K-90 superior to any other camera out there.By all means if you find the Viper superior that's the camera you should buy.I didn't even have an opinion on them until I'd worked with them for close to 18 months,but hey isn't that what makes America great.Let me know if and when you might be in our area,I could arrange a "ride along"on our training program,it just might change your mind on my abilities.Check my page,you'll find I'm not new to this business.As Gonzo would say,a fine layer of crust.T.C.
    Last edited by Rescue101; 01-04-2003 at 08:17 PM.

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    A fine layer, eh?

    lol

    At a CCFR School a couple years ago ("Getting Out Alive"), we had the opportunity to use 6 or 7 different cameras that were available at the time. The K-90 had the best image quality hands-down. No question about it.

    My department went with 3 Bullards... 2 of them are the blue T3 mini's (microbolometers), and the third is a TIx (BST)--and just happens to be blue also.

    Everyone liked features of both, and with the relatively low price for the T3's,the money was there. I think it was a good decision for us. The image quality on the larger-screened TIx is better than the T3. We placed this on our tower truck. The T3's are on 2 front line engine companies. Are the T3's images as detailed? Nope. But you can still see a body.
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    14,Perhaps resolution wasn't the best choice of words.Image definition might have been a better choice.You've had people thru our program,what were their opinions on the value of the training?Couldn't agree more on the T-3 it's a real neat little package for the consumer on a budget.I'm trying to get Al to free up the k-80 this year so I can pit it against the T-3.We've used the Bullard extensively due to the local Bullard dealer giving strong support to the program.Incidentally,your facility works great for the TIC program because on most days you get different heat layering due to the three floor design.As I have said so many times,I don't care whose product you use as long as you get good support,proper initial and ongoing training,and choose objectively among several models.Preferably try all MFGs under working conditions.Also take into consideration what your neighbors have.Not essential but sometimes helpful.Oh,and one other consideration,try to change batteries under low light conditions with gloved hands.A seemingly simple task,essential for life safety but not so easy on some models.Looking forward to seeing you guys during the spring rush,'til then be careful kinda slickery in spots.T.C,

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    I am no fan of any camera, just thermal imaging. I have been involved in the thermal imaging world for quite a long time. It has been around me my whole life. I do not train people with cameras, but I would say I am quite educated.

    The reason I wrote what I did was because it's against most training schools to endorse or have an opinion stated on how anyone who works there feels about any camera. If your school in Maine is any different, I would be quite surprised.
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    TIC girl,We do not endorse any product in the Maine program either.Nor will one be recommended in the program.However if you were to corner any of the instructors and ask them 1 on 1 their OPINION I am sure they would venture one and the reason that they hold that OPINION.Same goes for SAFEIR.If you read my post CAREFULLY you would have seen that I SAID we're not to endorse in the CLASS any brand.Most of us who have extensive camera time do hold an opinion,and if asked properly would offer it to you with the standard disclaimer of why we like that particular model and that you should evaluate all cameras by your DEPT. at your district using the guidelines I outlined in a previous post to form an educated purchasing decision.As a per diem I'm allowed a few liberties the Full time staff aren't allowed.I DO NOT actively endorse the products on site but as you can see by other postings I'm not the only one who shares that opinion.Sorry you feel that SAFEIR is the only qualified trainer for this venture.The State of Maine has worked very hard to produce what I feel is a QUALITY program,in my opinion one of the best in the Northeast and I've been through a few. Regarding your use of the camera for Police work,I would suggest if you don't have extensive Court documentation skills you better acquire them.We instruct our sudents AGAINST such practices.Find a seat trace,OK,look for victims OK.POLICE FORENSIC WORK NO WAY!T.C.
    Last edited by Rescue101; 01-07-2003 at 10:43 AM.

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    An answer to whether or not Safe IR has an opinion on any cameras, I will tell you this-I have GRILLED several of their employees to see what one they like best, or even what one they have an opinion about.... They will not even open their mouths. So NO, Safe IR does not have an opinion about cameras-or if they do, they will not tell anyone.
    I have not said that Safe IR is the best, they are just the ONE training school endorsed by all camera manufacturers, and they will travel anywhere in the country. I'm sure your training school is a fine school.
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    Originally posted by Rescue101
    However if you were to corner any of the instructors and ask them 1 on 1 their OPINION I am sure they would venture one and the reason that they hold that OPINION.Same goes for SAFEIR.If you read my post CAREFULLY you would have seen that I SAID we're not to endorse in the CLASS any brand...... Regarding your use of the camera for Police work,I would suggest if you don't have extensive Court documentation skills you better acquire them.We instruct our sudents AGAINST such practices.Find a seat trace,OK,look for victims OK.POLICE FORENSIC WORK NO WAY!T.C.
    1. SAFE-IR, as a matter of policy, does NOT indicate a preference for any manufacturer or any type of sensor. This goes for the classroom as well as outside of class. Bob Athanas (a principal of SAFE-IR) has made it clear that his company will work to ensure that any FD that uses SAFE-IR will finish the class well-trained, as well as confident that it chose the best TI for its use.
    2. Anyone planning to use TI's for law enforcement work should consider getting LETA certification. DEA, FBI, RCMP and many others use it for regular training and certification. LETA is a recognized law-einforcement training organization, and maintains a list of court-tested (and therefore LETA-approved) uses for TI's in law enforcement. For more info, go to www.leta.org.

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    Talking Reply on TIC topic

    Hey army,

    I know you said you only do fire/rescue. So I am assuming you get your fair share of Motor Vehicle Accidents. We get quite a few here in Green Valley. One great application that I have found for the TIC is to aid in doing your inner/outer circle at night. Our district lies right off of Interstate 19 so we get some bad ones. You can simply grab it and scan for any ejectees, since it isn't always good to rely on the one patient's recallection of how many people were in the car. I hope this is helpful to you. We rarely get fires here but we do get MVA's. Good Luck. "Wookie"

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    Good to see you using your thermal imager for that wookie! You could also use it more immediately by looking at the seats of the car. There should still be a thermal imprint on them, so you can tell how many people were sitting in the car! Then you can go search out those bodies. These thermal imagers are great, and there are sooo many applications you can use them for-it's all about creativity!
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    Originally posted by TIC_Girl
    You could also use it more immediately by looking at the seats of the car. There should still be a thermal imprint on them, so you can tell how many people were sitting in the car! Then you can go search out those bodies.
    While this is theoretically possible, it may not work all the time. It will be completely dependent on the length of time the people were in the car, the temperature of the seats before travel and during travel, and how long it has been since the people left the seats.

    I just mention the restrictions so that FF's and EMT's don't waste time looking for signs that aren't there, or worse, tricking themselves into thinking the TI is showing them something it is not.

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    This is true. I probably should have gone a little bit more into detail.
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    In my town we currently have 4 one for each station. We use them for everything you guys have metioned we use them to find people find hot spots.
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    Default Real dumb questions

    Not having a lot of experience with TIC's (only with demo models at live fire trainings) , I've got a few question that I would like some input on :

    Heard through sales staff that you can take you 100' ladder, climb to the top & find someone in the dark. How true is this? Isn't your range very limited by the low to no power zoom lens (Basically a 1:1 picture?)

    "Thermal imprints" on car seats, skid marks... how accurate? Does anybody have a success story?

    Energy conservation.. Again heard through sales staff that you can scan exterior walls of building and find areas where cold air is entering the building, thus allowing a FD to better winterize.. True/False

    Knowing the way firefighters are, I'm sure all the above questions can be answered, and there are probably a lot of other "creative" uses out there that people would like to share.
    Last edited by JJBat150; 01-14-2003 at 09:35 AM.
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