Thread: Which TIC?

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    Default Which TIC?

    We are thinking about applying for a TIC in the 2004 grant period. Need some input on which TIC has the most benifits vs. cost. Any help would be appreciated!

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    I have used a Bullard T1 that DFD got as part of a state wide grant to give all FD's a TIC in the wake of the Worcester tradgedy on 12-3-99 in which 6 firefighters died after getting lost inside a building.

    Last year DFD bought a brand new Bullard T3 for 10K. They both have held up well and are nice. Cant speak for others though.
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    The Scott TIC we have sucks, the screen resolution is poor at best and hasnít held up well.
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    I'd go with the Bullard BST (the original red one). it is a warrior. just don't get hung up on the transmitting/recording idea. it rarely seems to work well.

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    The best thing that you can do is to contact all of your prospective vendors. Comparing T.I.'s side by side under the same conditions is the way to go. However, getting your vendors to leave them with you for a period of time so that you can form your own opinion is a must. If it is any help, most cameras have the same basic camera engines (two types that I know of) inside, and how the extras(temp, overlays, camera case, etc.)is the difference between the camera manufacturers. My department has an ISG, and it works well for us. Cost may, or may not be a factor for your department. For most departments this is a major investment. It was for us. Just take your time, and you will find the right camera for your Department's needs.

    Good luck!

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    Default Re: Which TIC?

    Originally posted by arhaney
    We are thinking about applying for a TIC in the 2004 grant period. Need some input on which TIC has the most benifits vs. cost. Any help would be appreciated!
    The best TI is the one that your firefighters trust and that they take off the truck at every single incident. If they don't use it, it is a waste of money.

    I think if you do a forum search for thermal imagers, TI and TIC, you will find a number of posts that give you information on evaluating and choosing TIs. There is a technology forum as well as this forum. Our website offers explanations on the different technologies as well as hints on evaluating TIs:

    http://www.thermalimager.com/

    There are three basic technologies: ferroelectric BST, VOx microbolometer and aSi microbolometer. Each has its advantages and disadvantages; one is not better than another in every situation. They each excell at different tasks. If you want details on the differences, email or post. You can also research my articles in the MembersZone.

    Also, most add-on features are just bells and whistles that add little value on a fireground. If you are going to buy an imager with temperature measurement, remember it is surface temps, not air temps. The temperature measurement WILL NOT help you predict a flashover; only good training and solid image interpretation can do that.

    Jonathan Bastian
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    Bullard
    Last edited by firemanjb; 01-28-2004 at 08:37 AM.
    My comments are sometimes educated, sometimes informed and sometimes just blowing smoke...but they are always mine and mine alone and do not reflect upon anyone else (especially my employer).

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    Anybody have a MSA brand TIC?

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    arhaney,

    We got a grant for a TIC this year. If this year is like last year, FEMA will allow you a max of $12,000. I wouldn't worry about which camera to get now, I would get a quote close or over the 12 grant. When you get the grant have the different cameras in and have them do a demo. You may always change which camera to get after you get the grant. It may be year until you get the grant. We have had ISG, Bullard, ISI, and MSA in to do a demo. We are asking ISI, Bullard and MSA back for a live burn. Hope this helps.

    Matt

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    Exactly, there is no reason to worry about which TIC to apply for in the grant. Just ask for 12,000 dollars for a TIC (this might change, the money amount that is, hard to tell at this point). If you are accepted then you can decided which TIC to get. If FEMA allows less then 12,000 for a TIC this year, that shouldnt hurt your application. I asked for 16,000 and we were accepted, but they sent me an email saying we were only going to get 12,000 for the TIC portion of the grant. No biggy, there are a lot of TICs for that or less that are more then capable.

    Another thing, by the time the grants are divied out, there will be more technical advancement. A year is a long time in the TIC market, the way things are moveing along. Prices are also dropping dramaticaly. I have been given quotes for some cameras in the 6,000 dollar range, and in a years time that should be even better.

    Which brings up back to the Fire Act grant. Fema allows something like 1 TIC per 10000 people. So if you are a small town, only ask for one. I dont know if asking for 2 will hurt your application, but they will only allow one in any case. As far as the larger towns, >10,000, I dont recall off hand the guildline. I think if you have 50,000 you can ask for 2, if you have 100,000 you can ask for 5... Something like that. Ask in the grants section, there are some people there that have the Fire Act down to a science.

    But, if you want to research TICs, then you might as well start early, it is a very daunting subject that is filled with techno babble and lots of hype. I have been studying this for a while, we have a grant for 03 for a TIC.

    In general, I dont think you can go to far astray with Bullard, MSA, or ISG. They are all very popular brands and from what I have researched, all proved adequate performance and durability.

    One that is interesting at this point is the helmet mount Fire Warrior. It has a monocular that is one a flexable mount, you wear it on the front face of the helmet, and position the viewer over one eye. You have full hands free operation, and you can also see with you mark 1 eyeballs as well. I have been hearing good things, but I have not yet seen on in person.

    Ther are a lot of other "Me Too!" TICs that I would aviod like the plauge, not only for performance reasons, but also ergonics and lack up popular support. Brands like Scott, Cairns, etc... I have not heard anything good about these units.

    If you are like my area/department, getting a vendor to come and demo is akin to getting the sweedish bikini team to come over for a barbeque. Nice thought, but it is nearly impossible.

    We have had our choice narrowed down to the Bullard T3MAX and the MSA Evolution 5000 for about 2 months now. Think we can get a side by side demo, let alone a demo at all... HELL NO! What we have been and can do is get first hand acounts by fellow departments which are not so location challenged. From reseach of spec sheets, internet forums, first hand accounts from fire fighters I know and fire fighter I dont know, from talking to reps about their TICs, and from talking to reps about their competition TICs, is how I have made it to this fork in the road.

    What I realy liked about the MSA 5000 and the T3MAX is that vendors freom each respective side realy didnt have a lot of negatives to point out about the oppositions TIC. That IMO tells me a lot, mostly that I cant go to far worng with either TIC.

    As far as the large formate vs. mini imagers, we have decided that the smaller camersas are much more ergonimcial and easier to work with. Comes down to what was mentioned above, if they dont like it they wont use it. The mini cameras, while haveing a smaller screen, were the most popular with the fire fightersw who crawl around, crawl ladders, and have them hanging from their SCBA strap. The large fromate cameras, with the big screen, were more popular with the chiefs since they like to walk around and size up the fire and dont realy have the TIC getting in their way.

    Well, we are not here to make the Chiefs happly! We went for the small format TICs. In any case the TIC should be looked at as a tool for the fire fighter inside the building dealing with very dense smoke. It should blend into his fire fighting ensamble naturaly and not get in the way of working the fire. It should be durable, ready at a moments notice, and perform adequatly.
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    Samson,I work with the Training Divisin of Maine Fire Training on Thermal Imaging.My dept. has two Scott Eagle imagers.While heavy and bulky we have experienced no operational problems and they are used extensively.I would beg to differ on some of your conclusions.A wealth of information (good)has been written by Mike Richardson(formally of Bullard)and JB (Jon Bastian)at Bullard.They both offer unbaised,and valuable information on how to do comprehensive on site evaluations for prospective buyers.As an end user of all cameras I'll offer the following.Any camera is better than no camera.Service after the sale is VERY important.Your location in relation to the dealers is also important.In our case if ours goes down,we have a loaner in less than 24 hrs.Once you have your camera,extensive (hopefully professional)training is required to maximise the benefits the tool will provide.Having used about every brand of camera there is on a fairly frequent basis,I don't see that any one product is light years ahead of the others.Some have somewhat better resolution,some have better "refresh"rate,but to the average user these differences are not readily apparent.Everybody has their definition of what constitutes a "great" camera.Fortunately there is enough manufacturers to keep everybody happy.But the real key to successful camera ops is ongoing,quality training and image interpretation.My sector boss Tim Chute has done several studies on camera choice and would probably send a copy out to anyone interested.You can contact him thru the Maine Fire training website.T.C.

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    The subject of TICs (Thermal Imaging Cameras) has been popping up here recently. For those of you who are doing research on the subject here are links to some of the other recent discussions:

    http://cms.firehouse.com/forums2/sho...threadid=55266

    http://cms.firehouse.com/forums2/sho...5&pagenumber=1

    I believe a number of good points have been brought out in all of these topics.

    I would add or drive home the following:
    1. Any TIC is better than no TIC! and if your Dept does not have a TIC then PLEASE make sure a Dept that does have one is on your Mutual Aid list. Also make sure that you call for them as soon as it looks like you will need a TIC, don't wait until someone is in trouble or things go south, if you wait it will be to late!

    2. The TIC is not going to do anyone any good sitting on the truck! PLEASE take it off and use it on every call, if for no other reason than to use it as a learning/training opportunity. Also remember you can use a TIC for more than Structure Fires, it also can help with Haz Mat, locating lost/ejected victims, identifying hazards such as live electrical wires.

    3. To quote SAFE-IR (www.safe-ir.com), "There is more to training than changing the battery"! At a minimum you need a 3-4 hour class to cover: the operating procedures for the TIC, the basics of thermal imaging, and the applications for thermal imaging. You also need 3-4 hours of hands-on training using the TIC in realistic scenarios/environments to include Live Fire. Remember this is also just the start, training must be ongoing. If you are not getting this training see #4

    4. A firefighter with a TIC and NO TRAINING, is more likely to get into trouble than a firefighter with NO TIC! Getting a TIC is half of the battle, the other half is making sure you can use it safely and effectively. This is only going to happen if you get quality training.

    5. A good way to learn is to talk to those who have "been there, done that, and got the t-shirt"! If you have questions about buying a TIC or using a TIC talk to other Depts and see what they have to say. But also remember, get as many experiences as you can don't just go with one, the more you get the better the chance you are getting good info and not just one bad opinion or odd experience.

    6. There is more to a TIC than just the unit itself! Remember you should also look at the service and support the manufacturer and sales rep will provide after the sale. Once again the best way to find out about this is to speak to current users and see what their experiences have been. The sales rep may be making promises left and right, but see if they have been backing those promises up with other users!

    The name of the game is doing the job, and coming home at the end of the shift! Thermal imaging can help us do both when we understand it and take advantage of it.

    PLEASE share your good and bad experiences with thermal imaging here so that others may learn from them.


    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.

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    Sadly, I don't think any of our county departments have a TIC. I appreciate all of your help.

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    Originally posted by Rescue101
    [B]Samson,I work with the Training Divisin of Maine Fire Training on Thermal Imaging.My dept. has two Scott Eagle imagers.While heavy and bulky we have experienced no operational problems and they are used extensively.
    Some people with whom I have spoke have said that the Scott units tend to fall apart a bit more then average. IMPO they are not well designed in regaurds to ergonimics and blending in with the fire fighter ensamble.

    Is this the Eagle imager you use?

    http://www.nationalinfrared.com/Eagle_Imager.php





    I have not seen that model in person, but it realy looks awkward to me.

    I would beg to differ on some of your conclusions.A wealth of information (good)has been written by Mike Richardson(formally of Bullard)and JB (Jon Bastian)at Bullard.They both offer unbaised,and valuable information on how to do comprehensive on site evaluations for prospective buyers.
    I have talked a lot with JB on a number of TIC subjects.

    As an end user of all cameras I'll offer the following.Any camera is better than no camera.Service after the sale is VERY important.Your location in relation to the dealers is also important.In our case if ours goes down,we have a loaner in less than 24 hrs.
    You are very fortunate then. Our location relative to the dealers is, well, horrid. We are far far from any dealer that sells TICs. We do have one possible source, 120 miles away, but he has not been able to get his hands on any TICs, yet.

    On getting a loaner, I am not going to hold my breath. Like I mentioned, we cant even get a demo.

    Once you have your camera,extensive (hopefully professional)training is required to maximise the benefits the tool will provide.
    I whole heartedly agree that training is esential. That is a no brainer. Everything in the fire service requires extensive training to be successful.

    What do you mean by "professional" though?

    Having used about every brand of camera there is on a fairly frequent basis,I don't see that any one product is light years ahead of the others.Some have somewhat better resolution,some have better "refresh"rate,but to the average user these differences are not readily apparent.Everybody has their definition of what constitutes a "great" camera.
    Not surprising when a lot of cameras have the same guts in a different heat resistant package.

    What is your definition of what constitutes a "great" camera. In other words, if you had your choice of any TIC which would you take? Assume there is excellent post sales support and training available.

    [quote]Fortunately there is enough manufacturers to keep everybody happy.But the real key to successful camera ops is ongoing,quality training and image interpretation.[./quote]

    This is always the mantra in these discussions, and of course for good reason. I am in 100% agreement with this.

    But, you need a camera to train with, and somebody has to try and find the best camera for the money available. That is the situaion a lot of people are finding themselves in.

    My sector boss Tim Chute has done several studies on camera choice and would probably send a copy out to anyone interested.You can contact him thru the Maine Fire training website.T.C.
    I would be very very interested in reading that study. Could you give a link to the website.

    Thanks.
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    Samson,Yes that would be the unit.The viewfinder pivots so you can easily see under different operating modes.I've got people who could bust an anvil and they haven't broken these cameras yet so I know they are tough.What I mean by "professional"training is that you be trained by someone outside of a "salesman".Maine Fire training has a very good TI class as does Safe IR.I,unfortunately, have seen the results of poor or non existant TI training;it puts crews at SERIOUS risk of injury or worse.It sounds as if you are in a hard place to work;would it be possible for 4 or 5 of your company to travel to a training facility to do camera evals?To reach Maine Fire training just use your favorite search engine,type in Maine Fire Training and you'll arrive at the home page.From there a bit of surfing should give you contact options and a few downloadable goodies.If that doesn't work for you,let me know and I'll hook ya up.As far as my favorite camera I could tell ya but then I'd have to kill ya.I have three,depending on what you want them to do.Only two of them are in the price range we're talking here.The MSA 5000 and the Bullard T3 series are nice down and dirty cameras but there are more to look at too.Where you are and who's your dealer will have a bearing on choice.Part of the reason we have the Eagles is we were able to purchase two for price of one.T.C.

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    Originally posted by Rescue101
    What I mean by "professional"training is that you be trained by someone outside of a "salesman".
    I see what you are saying. True enough.

    Maine Fire training has a very good TI class as does Safe IR.I,unfortunately, have seen the results of poor or non existant TI training;it puts crews at SERIOUS risk of injury or worse.It sounds as if you are in a hard place to work;would it be possible for 4 or 5 of your company to travel to a training facility to do camera evals?
    No, I dont think that would work, we have tried. We are a 100% volunteer department, 650 miles from our State training school in Great Falls, 220 miles from Billings MT, about the only department that gets to try out all of the equipment on the market. They did invite us up to observe thier SCBA and TIC trials, but it is kind of difficult for our guys to make it durning the week, makeing a liveing kind of screwed that one up for us.

    We do try to communicate with all of our neibors to get their opinions and insight into this sort of thing.

    To reach Maine Fire training just use your favorite search engine,type in Maine Fire Training and you'll arrive at the home page.From there a bit of surfing should give you contact options and a few downloadable goodies.If that doesn't work for you,let me know and I'll hook ya up.
    Will do.

    As far as my favorite camera I could tell ya but then I'd have to kill ya.I have three,depending on what you want them to do.Only two of them are in the price range we're talking here.
    Could you PM me? I promis I wont tell anybody what your preference is!

    The MSA 5000 and the Bullard T3 series are nice down and dirty cameras but there are more to look at too.
    The ISG units come to mind, but what others would you say compare to the MSA 5Grand and the T3s?

    Where you are and who's your dealer will have a bearing on choice.Part of the reason we have the Eagles is we were able to purchase two for price of one.T.C.
    True enough. We have a vendor that tries very hard to take care of us, but he is so far having difficulties in the TIC realm. He is the closest thing we have to a local vendor, and he is 1.5 hours one way. It sounds like he will soon be selling MSA and be offering service and support, so I would imagine that is the way we will go. He tried to get Bullard for us, but he was denied. We could of course get any camera we want from mail order, but we have had very bad experiences going with vendors from out of our area. They make a sale, promise to see you soon, and then you never hear from them until you are anounced for a grant on the Fire Act website.

    As far as you 2 eagles, nothing wrong with a good deal. You did say they were very durable and performed adequatly, but are not necceasrily the sexiest things out there.

    Better then nothing as has been mentioned.

    Just out of curiousity, what did you pay for them (PM me if you dont like to advertise)?

    Thanks, it is always good to talk to people that have vast experience with these matters.
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    We have made our decision as to what to purchase just last night. After looking at the Bullards (great cameras no doubt), Scott, ISI, and MSA, we ordered an MSA 4000 and if we can shake the tree hard enough we will also order a 5000 (sorry Firemanjb, but thanks for the valuable info). The Scott Eagle ImagerII is a good camera albeit the fact that it has a rather large footprint, the decision to not purchase was that Scott is no longer selling that camera. It is only being marketed by FLIR the company that actually built it for Scott and FLIR does not have a Canadian distributor. The Scott 160 is a nice camera, light, easy to operate and is ergonomicaly designed, although the picture quality did not match the MSA 5000. The Bullard cameras are excellent cameras, the only drawbacks that we found was the ergonomics, and possible problems with aftermarket service. MSA 4000 has a great picture, the option of redout feature, which is also offered by other cameras is good. The 5000 has an equally as good a picture as any other camera and the lightweight ease of use is probably the best feature of this camera.

    The advice that Samson and Firemanjb give about doing your homework and looking at every possible camera that you can is very important.Look at all the technical info about each camera and if you find that it is a bit overwhelming ask guys like Firemanjb and Richardson and they will give you the straight goods. When you have to shell out the amount of cash for these units its important that you make an informed decision, the last thing you want is a camera that you find does not do the job for you sitting in a cabinet collecting dust.

    As for the add-on features for us we decided not to go with radio telemetry on our camera because we felt that it was something we just would not use enough to warrant the extra $'s. I understand that FDNY has lots of cameras and none with the radio telemetry.

    Good luck in your search for a camera that suits your department the best.

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    BULLARD T3Max.... Only camera that I know of where the manufacturer's rep will drop it on a concrete floor and slide it across the bay. I almost soiled my pants (being PC here) when I saw that the first time...
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    Question Live Burn

    We are getting ready to take 3 cameras into a live burn to see which camera we are going to buy. Other than search and rescue, what are some good drills to help us decided which camera we should get. Your help on this and all your help on TIC is greatly appreated!!

    Matt

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