Thread: Which one???

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    Default Which one???

    I guess I have been fortunate (or maybe not so fortunate) of being selected as part of our departments thermal imaging camera comittee. We are a small paid-on-call department, going on only 50 or so runs per year. We protect primarily a residential community with about 1800 residents. Even with the small size, we do get our fare share of fires. We recently decided that getting our own thermal imaging camera should be a priority due to the fact that the county-owned camera was not arriving quickly enough on-scene to be effective in rescue operations. The threads already posted are full of information, but I would really like to get any information from anyone out there about TIC's that they have used. Unfortunately, money is going to be a problem. We don't think we will be able to get a grant, and money from our budget is already tied up in other areas. We will probably be raising most of the money through fundraising, and donations. From what I have read so far, the smaller Bullard TIC seems to be a good value, but if anyone else has anything to add, that would be great. I'm sure most of you out there have been on some sort of comittee, the process of doing this is hard enough. I would greatly appreciate any advice anyone has...thanks...
    git 'er done...

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    Have you looked at the new Argus 3? Pricing is supposed to be very competative against the Bullard. Color thermal imagining, Digital Camera, Remote Control etc.
    www.argusdirect.com

    I know there are some great prices on the Argus 2 demos right now.

    Andy

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    I've had the opportunity to use both the hand-held Bullard and the simular MSA, both are good choices. The MSA has the advantage of being a little quicker on warm up and longer battery life. Though in all fairness, it is a few years newer. I like them because both are compact, have large buttons, a decent size screen, and a few decent accesories. I'm not a fan of the helmet mounted ones, you can't pass it among team members and the visual delay when you turn you head is a bit unsettling.
    Some pointers for evaluating them:
    Determine what style you want; handheld, helmet mount, other
    Get your budget and test those that fit
    Read larger department evaluations, and compare needs
    Test as many as you can in actual conditions
    -are buttons large enough to operate with gloves on
    -do you have to adjust the screen every use
    -is the battery life acceptable
    -is it easy to operate while under pressure
    -is the warm up time excessive
    -is it physically tough enough for your applications; residential, heavy urban, commercial, industrial, all, mix

    Does it have an over expensive proprietary battery
    Will the battery need an expensive additional conditioner unit
    Will you benifit from a color dispaly vs. cost
    Do you need remote transmitting ability vs. cost

    I hope this helps, there are a lot of good units out there. Make sure you test them to YOUR needs, not to what a vendor says.
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    I have found the MSA evolution to be a very good TIC. The department im in used the EV4000 on a house burn training and it was amazing how clear it was. We have also used the Draeger TIC before and were totally disappointed with it. The Draeger is big, bulky and requires to handed use. With the MSA it is only one handed, and is simple to use. If you can, call your local MSA rep and see if they wont let you borrow it and try it out for your self.

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    Daveed -

    The best thing you can do is schedule a live burn. Call ALL camera manufacturers and invite them. If you call them, they will come!

    Create a scoring sheet and have all members score the individual cameras. There is too much technology, too many options, and opinions to get the information you need on this thread. The US Navy published their thermal imager testing a couple of years ago. The company ISG will have this publiscation, as the Navy chose this camera above the rest. It has a very logical scoring sheet for the cameras.

    My department tested 7 cameras and chose the Bullard microbolometer model. Every vendor was extremely helpful and accomodating.

    As you can see we use a Bullard and think it is the best, the Navy likes ISG, FDNY uses some MSA. Have a live burn and decide for yourself what is best for your department.

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    Originally posted by jmatthe2
    The US Navy published their thermal imager testing a couple of years ago. The company ISG will have this publiscation, as the Navy chose this camera above the rest. It has a very logical scoring sheet for the cameras.
    There have been two formal tests by the US Navy. ISG tends to emphasize only the first one, where its camera passed. Some of the other TIs did not pass the Navy test for reasons such as carrying case size and battery insertion--some of the failures had nothing to do with durability or performance. The most recent test by the Navy, which ISG tends to overlook, approved Bullard and ISG. This report is still two years old, and may not have any relevance to structural firefighting, especially with new TIs on the market.

    FDs should honestly question how the Navy test may or may not relate to their needs.

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    JB, When was the second test done and was it done by the Navy or the company that originally assited the Navy with the first test.

    The story I heard was that Bullard paid one of the companies involved with the original Navy test to have the tests re-done. The person who told me this stated the Navy refused to re-test the cameras and in fact was purchasing the ISG camera.

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    Originally posted by rescuemaster
    JB, When was the second test done and was it done by the Navy or the company that originally assited the Navy with the first test.

    The story I heard was that Bullard paid one of the companies involved with the original Navy test to have the tests re-done. The person who told me this stated the Navy refused to re-test the cameras and in fact was purchasing the ISG camera.
    The report of the second Navy test was issued, I believe, in January 2001. I cannot find my record of it, so I admit I am going on memory. The Navy commissioned the test, and Bullard did receive a letter from the US Navy indicating that Bullard was a qualified TI.

    To date, the US Navy has purchased BOTH ISG and Bullard TIs. It is my understanding that the purchase of a TI to replace the NFTI (really old TI on most Naval vessels) is at the discretion of the vessel commander.

    The issue outside of the misinformation is what the Navy tests have to do with structural firefighting. Any FD that fights primarily Class B fires onboard metal vessels, far from shore, surrounded by classified radar and radio transmitters, constantly exposed to seawater, facing severe space and weight limitations and forced to hand carry many tools to the scene of the fire SHOULD give it consideration. Otherwise, FDs would be best served by performing evaluations that more closely mimmic their real-life environments.

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    I did not mention the Navy test to validate the test results, and frankly, I could could care less what camera the USN purchses. My point, which I thought I made clear, was that the test document has, what I consider, a good start at logically scoring the cameras. The Navy test has copies of the scoring sheets that were used and how they measured the performance of the camera under each catergory. I know ISG can get you the test, as they performed well under the guidelines listed. I received my copy from our local ISG distributer.

    WE DID NOT BUY AN ISG CAMERA.

    I have learned that the most productive way to find the best product is to hold a field test for your department. The equipment is then subjected to the environment and dempgraphics of YOUR response area.

    For instance we found microbolometer technology not to be that much of a benefit in comparison to price. Temperature guages were not worth what they cost. We actually found the temperature readings on one camera could be 100's of degrees different than another one. (I know I'll get a response for that comment) "Color" cameras did not score as high as black and white. During our test we found a camera that did not "cool" itself as well as others and malfunctioned during the live-burn.

    Any vendor is going to give you a song and dance. Find out for yourself. I turned to the Navy test for scoring cameras because the feedback I sought on Firehouse.com turned into a bunch of camera salesmen argueing. I was getting a bunch of techno mumbo-jumbo. It all comes down to performance under fire conditions, not how well the camera shows your hand through a phone book, or how a cigarette looks in color.

    By the way, I ordered our third Bullard BST camera yesturday One more suggestion. Purchase the truck mount with any camera you buy. Your guys won't use the camera if they have to dig the case out from behind a seat. Look for a mount that will trickle charge the camera and spare battery as well.

    Good Luck!

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    I have just gone through what you have. I checked and compared the specs they come out all comparable. Because of service came down to Bullard and MSA. Both are good cameras. Our neighbors have MSA 4000 they have had good luck. I have used it at fires it is a great tool. We bought an MSA 3000 and 5000 we got both for the price of 1 4000. WE have used the 3000 at a fire, one thing it is lighter disavantage it is harder for two people to see at the same time battery life was excellant was at 3/4 after fire. I felt getting two cameras was better than one for the same price. 3000 and 5000 with accesseries,no transmitting, with temperature $15,000. One thing check on where they are repaired and do you get a loaner. Good luck!!

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    Originally posted by sklump
    We bought an MSA 3000 and 5000 we got both for the price of 1 4000.
    Have you actually received the 5000? When did you order it?

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    Default which one?

    The info jmatthe2 offers is pretty much on target. Salesmen all have a job to do but if you educate yourself on some TI basics, this should not cloud your judgement. Do test cameras in conditions beyond what you will find in the firehouse kitchen. Do compare apples to apples. Do judge cameras based on the needs of your department (ie, price, image quality, service etc.). I would like to point out something that has been conspicuously missing from any of the replies...Training. Who should departments rely on to ensure their members are properly trained. I wholeheartedly agree with the comment about providing truck mount charges to ensure firefighters will take the tool off the truck, indeed this is one way to meet the intention. In my experience, thorough, proper training on the imager is the single most important factor that will lead to ensuring not only the tool gets used, but that the firefighter(s) using it will be safer and more efficient. If you make the investment on the tool, be assured the best way to get the most from your investment is to provide your firefighters with comprehensive training. My opinions are not based on bias as a thermal imaging instructor but on experience as a firefighter who has been using all types of fire service thermal imagers regularly since 1996. Good Luck. John F.
    Boston Rescue 1/Safe-IR

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    In addition to the good advise JF has offered,I'll offer this.Any Maine dept. who qualifies and recieves a camera thru the Cole Foundation grant will recieve as part of the grant the Maine Fire Training and Education Thermal Imaging class BEFORE they take possession of their cameras(They get them at the start of class)This allows a good baseline in care and operation,and instills proper habits and operations.I'm involved in the program and it's very satisfying to see the progression of the students as they learn and strengthen their TI skills.T.C.

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    Default viper

    my company has the cairnes viper. and we have had no real big problems with it. personally, i think it's great. lightweight, easy to maneuver/hold. you can slide it along the ground if you want. the viewer swivels 180 degrees. so that's what i think
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    Default thermal imager evals

    When you eval TIC it is imperative that you test them in a actual burn.Judging a unit by the clarity of the picture in ambient air with no fire is a disservice to you and the mfg. You will also want to ask about training, service and the ability of your supplier to provide loaner units.

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    Originally posted by firemanjb


    Have you actually received the 5000? When did you order it?
    No we have not recieved it and ordered it in OCT. Should be coming soon they say?

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    Originally posted by sklump
    No we have not recieved it and ordered it in OCT. Should be coming soon they say?
    I had heard they still were not shipping...just curious if that was still true. Can you post when you receive it? Thanks.

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