02-03-2004, 11:44 AM #1
TIC telemetry and video transmitters
Are such systems realy worth it? Does anybody use or have a use for a live TIC video feed?
I can imagine that in a large department that going to buy a LOT of TICs, it would be a diminishing return when compared to what more non transmitter TICs would have.
But, on a small department which is only going to get to purchase 1 maybe 2 TICs over the next 5-10 years, probly from grants, is a transmitter a worth while option.
My thoughts on this are for training purposes, playback of incident for critique, more eyes studying the image from the TIC on scene, etc...
The cost of tranmitter varies greatly from TIC to TIC, so it is possibly relative to the unit you are going to purchase.
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02-03-2004, 11:52 AM #2
When my FD purchased a TIC in 2003 we got the transmitter and receiver/TV with it. One thing to keep in mind when using the transmit function during incidents, because the signal on some cameras is an analog signal, the media can intercept your transmissions and record them without you knowing. This in turn can cause some problems. A recommendation I got when we were using our TIC for a live burn training was to connect a mini video camera/recorder using wires to the TIC and place the recorder/camera in your coat. Now you have a recording for critique and you can control who gets copies.
To answer your original question, we only have one TIC and may get another in the future. The transmit function has proven useful for training, but for real incidents will not prove very useful due to the unreliable nature of the analog signal. Any metal frame building will give you problems with signal reception.
I honestly think we got the TV/VCR for the pump operator to be able to watch videos while we are on those LONG incidents.
Last edited by Lewiston2Capt; 02-03-2004 at 11:58 AM.Shawn M. Cecula
IACOJ Division of Fire and EMS
02-03-2004, 01:31 PM #3
- Join Date
- Mar 2003
A couple of words on TICs with Transmitters:
The News Crew Video Intercept – this one is about 95% Urban Legend, cooked up by those who have some type of “scrambled signal” to try and get a competitive edge over those who have a “straight analog” signal. Could it happen, YES. What are the chances it will happen, SLIM TO NONE. Why will it most likely not happen? The TV crew has to be on scene, they have to know you are transmitting, they have to know what frequency you are transmitting on, and they have to be able to receive that frequency. Most mobile news crews consist of a reporter and a camera person, they don’t typically have the knowledge or equipment to make this happen. It would take a remote truck and a qualified crew to be able to make this happen, and they typically don’t show up unannounced at fire scenes.
I have been involved with Fire Service Thermal Imaging for over 5 years and have never been able to find an actual case where this happened. If anyone does know of an actual case where the media grabbed a TIC transmission, PLEASE post the details here!
TIC Transmitter Uses – there are actually a lot of uses for TICs with transmitters to include:
Capturing Activities on Video – by using the wireless transmitter and a video recorder you can capture the video signal from the TIC. This video can be used for training, after action review, or for evidence during a court case.
Guided Operation – in this case someone who has “expert knowledge” watches the video monitor and advises the crew using the TIC via radio on what to do. You could have a Plant Manager giving firefighters real time directions on how to find their way through a large facility or what actions to take to avoid special hazards. You could have a Plant Chemist or Engineer advising a Haz Mat team in real time on what products they are dealing with or what actions to take to control a process.
Remote Viewing – this can work 2 ways. On a Haz Mat, you can take the TIC and set it up in the Hot Zone on a tripod to remotely monitor a hazard and you can watch what is going on from the safety of the Command Post in the Cold Zone. On a Technical Rescue, you can attach a TIC to a rope and lower it down into a confined space to get an idea of what is in the space or find out what kind of condition the victim is in.
Safety Review – during an operation a separate Safety Officer can be appointed to monitor all activities by watching the video from the TICs. This person may catch something a crew missed or they may catch a crew in trouble who can’t call for help. They can also provide information to the Incident Commander or RIT on what the conditions are like or what the crew was doing when they got into trouble.
This is just some of the uses, if you have some examples of how you are using transmitters PLEASE post them here!
Final words on TICs with Transmitters:
About 5 years ago around 75% of the TICs sold were sold with transmitters. I would guess that number is somewhere below 40% or 50% by now.
Transmitters just like your radios work great sometime and sometimes they don’t work at all. The heavier the building construction, the greater the distance from the receiver, the greater the chance you will lose the signal.
NEVER rely on a transmitter to work, per above they don’t work all the time.
A transmitter eats up battery life, in some cases they can cut your TIC operating time by almost 50%.
If you have multiple TICs on scene with transmitters make sure you know which ones are transmitting and which ones you are viewing. It can be very easy for signals to get crossed and you may not be watching the TIC you thought you were.
If anyone has any good or bad experiences PLEASE share them so that others can learn from them.
Good Luck, Stay Safe,Mike Richardson
Captain, Training Officer
St Matthews FD, Louisville KY
TI Training = www.safe-ir.com
The information and views above are in no way associated with my employer, and are strictly my own.
02-03-2004, 01:37 PM #4
We use this quite often, for all the reasons that were stated above. It just has become standard operation to transmit and 90+% of the time we record the video.AKA: Mr. Whoo-Whoo
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02-03-2004, 02:17 PM #5
Thank you for that insite Capt Richardson. I guess I should have realized that the news medias ability to intercept the TIC transmission would be limited at best. I guess I posted it because it is not out of the realm of possibility.
Many of the topics you covered later in your post were essentially the same issues I was hoping to cover, you just did it better. Maybe that is why I never did all that well with writing papers in college. Thank you for setting me straight on the issue of signal interception.Shawn M. Cecula
IACOJ Division of Fire and EMS
02-04-2004, 09:57 AM #6
Be VERY careful if you RECORD actual incidents.Such recordings in most jurisdictions become "public records"and as such are subject to view by JQ public and attorneys.There have been cases of FDs successfully sued as a result of such documents.My reccommendation is DO NOT TAPE ACTUAL INCIDENTS,and we advise our students not to as well.T.C.
02-06-2004, 07:18 PM #7
- Join Date
- Feb 2003
- Boston Fire Rescue 1
I never heard of any actual cases, only of the possibilities. That said, the first time we attempted to use our transmit feature, the command post received a picture from a traffic monitoring camera mounted on a high-rise bldg. and when the channel was switched on the camera the picture was extremely noisy and often not recognizable. Stay safe JF
02-07-2004, 10:58 AM #8
Got to dig thru a couple reams of paperwork to get the actual locations and dockets but we have them for our training program.They are REAL and in todays suit happy world I would have to consider them something you should seriously consider.I'm not going to let lawsuits keep me from doing my job,but I'm not going to expose the Dept.to unnecessary risk either.Just a tidbit for consideration that might keep ya out of the courtroom or worse.T.C.
02-08-2004, 09:21 AM #9
I would agree that the news media thing is more or less a non-issue. If your having range problems you could try the use of an external directional gain antenna pointed at the fire building. Might help increase what you want to receive and block out what you don't. (Yea, I know, I'm a radio geek). The traffic camera thing is pretty funny, although at the time I'm sure it was pretty annoying.
As far as the law suit thing, yea I guess that is a possibility. You try and do something nice and you get no gratitude. You can usually tell when you arrive on scene whether the owner is going to be an ***. You just wish you could tell them "Fine, you think you can do a better job, be my guest. We'll be at the station eating lunch if you need us." Based on the incidents we have here, I would be in favor of recording but I can see where some departments would decide against it.Even the burger-flippers at McDonald's probably have some McWackers.
02-08-2004, 07:47 PM #10
The incident I'm specifically referring to involves a "taped"search of a fire in which two children were reported still inside.The search crew with a camera made the grab on one of the kids.Unfortunately they missed one.In the aftermath the family laywer got a copy of the tape and guess what showed up on it?The other childs appendage just barely visibly showing under the bed.If things will slow up a bit here at the shop,I'll try to post the area and date.I'm sorry but I haven't committed it to memory,too small a hard drive.T.C.
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