1. #1
    Forum Member

    Join Date
    Jul 2002
    Posts
    82

    Default TIC Training Drills

    Does anyone have any suggestions for hands on training during the winter that can be performed inside the fire hall?

  2. #2
    Forum Member
    Bones42's Avatar
    Join Date
    Mar 2001
    Location
    Pt. Beach, NJ
    Posts
    10,694

    Default

    Another poster on here suggested using propane heaters as the fire. Won't damage anything and will heat a room up fairly well.
    "This thread is being closed as it is off-topic and not related to the fire industry." - Isn't that what the Off Duty forum was for?

  3. #3
    MembersZone Subscriber

    Join Date
    Mar 2003
    Posts
    94

    Default

    Here are a couple of ideas, I would add more but unfortunately time is very tight.

    Basics of Thermal Imaging
    Setup different locations that demonstrate/reinforce the “Basics of Thermal Imaging”, examples include:

    Reflections – use many different materials and surfaces that can produce a reflection, try to create a situation where you can create a false door or window, you can also use a space heater to simulate a fire and create a reflection to throw off its actual location.

    Water – use a sink to show how you can get a reflection and show how you cant see through water. You can also simulate a sprinkler head with a small hose and nozzle to show it looks and how it can block the view if the flow is heavy enough.

    Glass – show how you can get a reflection, have a person stand behind it to show how you cant see them, have them hold their hand on the glass to show how the heat can be seen via conduction.

    Plastics – show how you can see through some plastics like a trash bag, but not others like plexiglass

    Thermal Inversion – hold you hand up in front of an oven at 200 degrees to show it as black, then hold it up in front of a freezer to show it as white, driving home the point its temp did not change the background did.

    Scanning/Operating Techniques
    Setup:
    Use an average size room (approx 100-200 sq ft), make the room as dark as you can get it (you can also use a smoke machine for a better effect), make sure the room has plenty of objects in it, have it setup so the crew enters and does a right or left hand search and comes back out the way they went in.

    Drills:
    Room Layout - tell the crew they have 2-3 minutes to complete a primary search in the room, there should be NO victims in the room, have them enter do the search as your SOP/SOG dictates, and exit. Make sure there is a “rush/stress factor”, if need be stay on top of them and make sure they are moving quickly. As soon as they exit start firing off a series of questions about the room layout and see how well they can answer them. Examples, general room layout, how many windows and doors, where they are, what furniture was in the room, etc. The purpose is to see how well they were scanning and noting the layout of the room.

    Victim Search – for this drill you will want to place multiple victims in the room, make sure each one is different in some way (covered with blanket, under furniture, live person versus manikin, hot manikin versus cold manikin, etc). Tell the crew they have 2-3 minutes to complete a primary search in the room, tell them they are to identify as many victims as they can but that they are NOT to remove them, have them enter do the search as your SOP/SOG dictates, and exit. Make sure there is a “rush/stress factor”, if need be stay on top of them and make sure they are moving quickly. As soon as they exit have them start telling you about the victims they identified to include location, what they looked like on the TI, etc. The purpose is to see how well they were scanning and noting the many different ways that a victim can appear on the TI. Once they are done take them back into the room and show them any victims they missed, driving home the point that a TI may not be able to identify all victims.

    Scavenger Hunt - for this drill you will want to place multiple items in the room, make sure each one is different in some way (large & small, hot versus cold, etc). Tell the crew they have 2-3 minutes to complete a primary search in the room, show them a list of the items you placed in the room, and tell them they are to identify and remove as many of them as they can in the time limit, have them enter do the search as your SOP/SOG dictates, and exit. Make sure there is a “rush/stress factor”, if need be stay on top of them and make sure they are moving quickly. When they exit verify the number of items they recovered. The purpose is to see how well they were scanning and operating with the TI.

    During all of the drills above make sure the crews are operating as they should per your SOP/SOG. Make sure they maintain a physical reference pint out of the room, if not turn off the TI to simulate a failure and see how quickly they can recover. Make sure the TI operator is communicating and working well with their partner. Make sure they are not trying to replace their “Basic Firefighting Skills” with “TI Skills” that could get them in trouble. You can obviously change these drills up each time and run them over and over. You can also have them run the drill first without a TI, and then have them run it with a TI, or vice versa.

    Not sure if everyone has checked it out but you can also find some other ideas if you go back into the older posts, there is a lot of really good info there if you take the time to go back and read it.
    http://cms.firehouse.com/forums2/sho...threadid=37447
    You use the feature at the bottom of the posts to view “the beginning”

    I know there are some other good ideas out there so please throw them in.

    Good Luck, Stay Safe,
    Last edited by torichardson; 12-28-2004 at 11:13 AM.
    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.

  4. #4
    Protective Economist
    Jonathan Bastian's Avatar
    Join Date
    Oct 2002
    Posts
    966

    Default Re: TIC Training Drills

    Originally posted by redtrucks
    Does anyone have any suggestions for hands on training during the winter that can be performed inside the fire hall?
    Please read my articles in Firehouse magazine from March 2004 through February 2005, as well as my online articles in the Technology Section here on Firehouse.com.

    Each article includes suggestions for drills that can be performed in and around the firehouse. I know most of us do not have regular access to burn buildings, so I have tried to develop training ideas that do not require live fire.

    I don't know if Bullard has updated its website, but some of the articles may be there as well (www.thermalimager.com).

    If you have trouble finding them, email me.
    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).

  5. #5
    MembersZone Subscriber

    Join Date
    Mar 2003
    Posts
    94

    Default

    FYI and a word of caution to everyone out there in regards to Thermal Imaging Training.

    I am adding these comments for two reasons:
    1. Over the past 6 years that I have been involved with TI Training I have made an effort to attend as many TI Training Sessions as I can. One - so that I can learn more about Thermal Imaging and Two - so that I can evaluate what is going on in the way of training. These training sessions have included National FD Conferences, TI Industry Conferences, and FD Trainings. I am glad to say there are some excellent programs out there, I am sad to say at least 25-30% of the time the information being provided was not complete, misleading, and/or was incorrect. There is obviously a HUGE PROBLEM when people are being taught bad information that could ultimately get them INJURED or KILLED! PLEASE REMEMBER, if you are going to teach Thermal Imaging to the Brothers and Sisters they will be relying on the information YOU provide them with to make LIFE and DEATH decisions!

    2. I have had multiple people contact me over the last couple of weeks asking for clarification in regards to information that was in some of the recent articles on Thermal Imaging and in posts here on the Forums. I think unfortunately some articles and the discussions here have been to short, unclear, and/or lack the detail they should have, and as a result there are people out there who are unclear on some of the info. Truth be known, most of these topics are way too lengthy or complicated to be adequately addressed through a 2-3 page magazine article or a 200-300 word post on the Forum. While certain people may argue some information is better than no information, you have to be very careful that people are not trying to do something with a little information and getting in trouble, where with no information they would not try it at all. Obviously the best option is to have all the information and put it to good use, we just have to figure out how to make that happen!

    Example 1: In the December issue of Firehouse Jonathan Bastian did an article on Thermal Imaging and Haz Mat, some Brothers contacted me in regards to the following part of the article because the information in the article did not follow some of the material / information that I had previously provided to them.

    Quote ….. “Some products show a temperature difference only if there has been a recent phase change. When evaluating containers, give consideration to how the presence, or lack, of a phase change may be affecting the thermal image (see photo 1). Photo 1 Caption – photo 1 shows how a phase change in certain materials can make a product line more obvious. In this image, the propane truck in the center shows a clear product level. The white signature of the tires and engine compartment indicate that the truck had been driven recently, implying the driver recently on-loaded or off-loaded propane. The truck to the right does not have an obvious product line, nor has it been driven recently. It has not on-loaded or off-loaded propane, and the absence of a phase change has created temp equalization.”

    The photo that Jonathan used was actually a frame captured from a video that I shot and have been using in my presentations, if you look at a series of shots from that video below you will notice, 1 - there is a clear product level visible in the LP tank which had not been loaded/unloaded so there had been no recent phase change 2 - there is actually a product level visible in the truck in the foreground, though it is not as distinct as the product level in the truck in the background. As these photos illustrate it is not necessary for a product to have gone through a recent phase change in order for a thermal imager to detect a product level in a container. In my presentation I stressed the ability to see the product levels in the trucks and tank had to do with the construction of the various containers (shell design and thickness) and how those containers were being impacted by environmental factors (sunlight versus shaded area), I did not stress phase change as being an issue because the product had not been loaded or unloaded in any of those containers for over an hour. As such Jonathan’s argument about a truck having hot tires indicating that it had been used recently so the product had undergone a phase change which made it easier to detect a product level would have been hypothetical. In reality that was not the case for the photo/video and for people who had seen my presentation and had been given a different explanation it is understandable how there could be confusion.

    Hopefully that cleared up the confussion, if not please let me know.

    Given the above, please think about the following:
    1. If you are thinking about teaching a class on Thermal Imaging please make sure you will be passing on good solid information and please make sure your students fully understand that information.
    2. If you are unsure about the information or training that you have received try to verify the information from as many other sources as you can find. If you find the different sources don’t agree or it doesn’t make sense try to get it clarified or be very careful about using the information.
    3. If you are not sure about a particular thermal imaging principle or technique practice and review it as best you can in non-emergency / training situations to see if you will get the results you expected, if not you obviously need to figure out what is going on. For clarification you can always check here and send emails out to people who post here.
    4. Until you get “real proficient” using Thermal Imaging always remember to use it in very cautiously. Even when you get “real proficient” you should always remember to use it in conjunction with another means to back it up or verify it.

    I posted on this Forum almost 6 years ago one of my greatest concerns is that a Brother or Sister is going to get seriously injured or killed because they were using Thermal Imaging improperly. Almost 6 years later I still have that fear because I still don’t believe a lot of the Brothers and Sisters are receiving the training they need when it comes to Thermal Imaging. I got involved with Thermal Imaging Because I believe it has a tremendous potential to become a real life saving tool for the Brothers and Sisters, I just hope that potential can be realized because the name of the game is to do the job as effectively as we can and most importantly go home at the end of the shift!

    Please use this forum and the people here to its fullest potential!

    Please jump in with a comment or question we all can learn a lot from each other!

    Good Luck, Stay Safe,
    Attached Images Attached Images  
    Last edited by torichardson; 12-29-2004 at 06:03 PM.
    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.

  6. #6
    Forum Member

    Join Date
    Jul 2002
    Posts
    82

    Default

    I appreciate the info! I am trying to gather correct info on TIC's to present to our volunteer FD this coming year as I was appointed the FD training officer for 2005. We purchased our Bullard TIC's over 3 years ago and besides a video that was shipped with them we really received zero training info from the sales rep. We have done internal training with the TIC but in my opinion it didn't even scratch the surface of usefulness and potential hazards involved with using the TIC. We have used them to fight structure fires (3 to 4 per year) but have been mainly used for overhaul. In our part of the US we really have had no formal training programs for TIC's. I have been a volunteer fire fighter for 14 years and I really enjoy learning something new everday. Thank you!

  7. #7
    Protective Economist
    Jonathan Bastian's Avatar
    Join Date
    Oct 2002
    Posts
    966

    Default

    Originally posted by torichardson
    2. I have had multiple people contact me over the last couple of weeks asking for clarification in regards to information that was in some of the recent articles on Thermal Imaging and in posts here on the Forums. I think unfortunately some articles and the discussions here have been to short, unclear, and/or lack the detail they should have, and as a result there are people out there who are unclear on some of the info. Truth be known, most of these topics are way too lengthy or complicated to be adequately addressed through a 2-3 page magazine article or a 200-300 word post on the Forum. While certain people may argue some information is better than no information, you have to be very careful that people are not trying to do something with a little information and getting in trouble, where with no information they would not try it at all. Obviously the best option is to have all the information and put it to good use, we just have to figure out how to make that happen!

    Example 1: In the December issue of Firehouse Jonathan Bastian did an article on Thermal Imaging and Haz Mat, some Brothers contacted me in regards to the following part of the article because the information in the article did not follow some of the material / information that I had previously provided to them.

    The photo that Jonathan used was actually a frame captured from a video that I shot and have been using in my presentations, if you look at a series of shots from that video below you will notice, 1 - there is a clear product level visible in the LP tank which had not been loaded/unloaded so there had been no recent phase change 2 - there is actually a product level visible in the truck in the foreground, though it is not as distinct as the product level in the truck in the background. As these photos illustrate it is not necessary for a product to have gone through a recent phase change in order for a thermal imager to detect a product level in a container. In my presentation I stressed the ability to see the product levels in the trucks and tank had to do with the construction of the various containers (shell design and thickness) and how those containers were being impacted by environmental factors (sunlight versus shaded area), I did not stress phase change as being an issue because the product had not been loaded or unloaded in any of those containers for over an hour. As such Jonathan’s argument about a truck having hot tires indicating that it had been used recently so the product had undergone a phase change which made it easier to detect a product level would have been hypothetical. In reality that was not the case for the photo/video and for people who had seen my presentation and had been given a different explanation it is understandable how there could be confusion.
    Mike: If we can't adequately address TI issues in 2-3 page articles, then why do we try? I think we can give the FF some knowledge, teach him some skills and give him the groundwork to practice and learn more. That's just me, though.

    Regarding my article, I'll leave the first issue aside and concentrate on my interpretation of the image. First, the tank where I suggest you cannot see a product level. This tank has a marked dark line on it, which one might think is a product level. However, it doesn’t make sense to me that the product level would be only a few inches thin and floating midway in the tank. Above and below that line, the tank is gray. The tank on the left, which I say had offloaded recently, has a dark line. But note that the product level is dark all the way to the bottom of the tank. It does not float magically at the center of the tank, coincidentally right around the curve in the ellipse. The tank is elliptical and made of metal, so I would guess the dark line to be a reflection or emissivity issue due to shape and material. I interpret the line to be an unreliable marker.

    On the storage tank image you posted, I also suggest the white portion is not a 100% reliable indicator of the product level. It may be the product level, but the image compares the tank to the deep cold of space. While it is probably the product line, the background to which it is compared could be throwing things off (especially with the BST imager). I’d get an image from another angle to confirm the product level.

    It is my experience that propane that sits unaffected by phase change or external heat sources does not indicate a product level. The propane will reach a state of equilibrium at some point; and if there is no temperature difference, the TI has nothing to show. The one hour that Mike indicates may or may not be significant. As he well knows, TIs are very sensitive. Apparently sensitive enough to show the brakes and motor still hot from driving. I'd make an educated guess that there is still temperature difference in the propane vs. the vapor space as a result of that work too.

    My point in the picture was twofold: show that a product line is not always visible and look for other indicators that may help you determine if you have a reliable product line.

    Mike is correct that construction and thickness of a container affect the TI’s ability to “read a level.” That does not, however, contradict my interpretation of the same image. Trainers cannot give FFs every possible image and teach them the answer. It is not like reading an EKG, where atrial fib always has a specific appearance. The user has to compare what he knows with what he sees and what his guts tell him and make an educated interpretation (hmmm, there's that word again) of what the TI is trying to show.

    I trust my explanation helps show how two of us could read the same image differently. For the record, if you ever have questions about a claim or interpretation I make, feel free to email me.
    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).

  8. #8
    dazed and confused
    Resq14's Avatar
    Join Date
    Dec 2000
    Location
    New England
    Posts
    1,993

    Default

    Originally posted by firemanjb

    It does not float magically at the center of the tank, coincidentally right around the curve in the ellipse. The tank is elliptical and made of metal, so I would guess the dark line to be a reflection or emissivity issue due to shape and material. I interpret the line to be an unreliable marker.
    I've experienced this a lot, both personally and by watching others... mistaking this type of reflection for "product level." And especially up here where it's cold 11 months out of the year, and cool the 12th... you're typically going to see a continuous shade.

    As far as training goes... while rocket science might be needed for the manufacturing of TIC's, I don't think it's needed for use.

    Sure, there are important things to cover, and it's important to experience as many of these as possible in real life. But like JB said, you can't possibly cover every nuance and situational difference. As long as people generally understand how the image is formed, and know the common pitfalls (relative temperatures, reflections, failures, etc)... I think that represents a solid foundation. Good training courses cover these, and much much more. And good articles in magazines only reinforce this training to help us understand how the TIC will perform in situations we might not've experienced before.

    Of all the shots from TIC's that have been shared on here and in magazines, I've never found myself saying "what the heck is that?"... it's more like, "ok now what type of environment is generating an image like this?" These types of pics add slides to your slide trays of experience.
    Last edited by Resq14; 12-30-2004 at 02:53 AM.
    God Bless America!Remember all have given some, but some have given all.
    Google Is Your Friend™Helpful forum tip - a "must see" if you're new here
    Click this to search FH Forums!

  9. #9
    MembersZone Subscriber

    Join Date
    Mar 2003
    Posts
    94

    Default

    Red Trucks and Resq14, thanks for the input, it is good to know what is going on out there from your perspectives.

    Jonathan,

    Mike: If we can't adequately address TI issues in 2-3 page articles, then why do we try? I think we can give the FF some knowledge, teach him some skills and give him the groundwork to practice and learn more. That's just me, though.
    Jonathan: I think we can address some TI issues in a 2-3 page article, but I also think we can’t touch other topics. Would you try to cover vertical ventilation operations in a 2-3 page article? You could give a very broad overview or a very detailed explanation of one very specific aspect but there is no way you could cover everything someone would need to know about the subject. I look back at the first 3 page article that I did on Thermal Imaging & Haz Mat and it really should have been a series of about 6, 2-3 page articles. I constantly have to remind myself that I have to be very careful with the info I provide because I tend to take it for granted that other people will understand Thermal Imaging the way I do, however I constantly learn that is not the case. I think we need to keep writing the 2-3 page articles and making the posts here, but we also have to make sure that we stick to very specific topics and cover all of the points, because I believe leaving out a detail could lead to someone making a mistake at a very critical time.

    Regarding my article, I'll leave the first issue aside and concentrate on my interpretation of the image. First, the tank where I suggest you cannot see a product level. This tank has a marked dark line on it, which one might think is a product level. However, it doesn’t make sense to me that the product level would be only a few inches thin and floating midway in the tank. Above and below that line, the tank is gray. The tank on the left, which I say had offloaded recently, has a dark line. But note that the product level is dark all the way to the bottom of the tank. It does not float magically at the center of the tank, coincidentally right around the curve in the ellipse. The tank is elliptical and made of metal, so I would guess the dark line to be a reflection or emissivity issue due to shape and material. I interpret the line to be an unreliable marker.
    In the photo you used the product level on the truck in the foreground is not as clear as the product level on the truck in the background. This is for a number of reasons:
    1. the truck in the background is perpendicular to the imager, while the truck in the foreground is at an angle.
    2. the lower portions of the truck in the foreground is being shaded from the sunlight, versus the truck in the background which is being heated evenly.
    3. the tank construction on the 2 trucks is not the same.
    If you watch the entire video both product levels vary in intensity/clarity based on the angle at which they are being viewed. If you look at the additional pics I posted from the video you can actually see the product level more clearly. This discussion brings up a very important point, if you looked at a single image you could obviously come up with a very different conclusion than if you looked at series of images from a number of different angles. Which coincidentally is a point that you make below, but did not make in your original article.

    On the storage tank image you posted, I also suggest the white portion is not a 100% reliable indicator of the product level. It may be the product level, but the image compares the tank to the deep cold of space. While it is probably the product line, the background to which it is compared could be throwing things off (especially with the BST imager). I’d get an image from another angle to confirm the product level.
    Your point about the background impacting the image is dead on, and it is a very important point to consider when you are trying to view a product level. However, I have to disagree here with the comment on BST. BST based imagers are “very stable” in that they do not drastically adjust their dynamic range/sensitivity especially when compared to a Microbolometer based imager. Based on my 6 years of experience, in general when a BST unit sees a lack of heat/energy it will make some minor adjustments, when a Microbolometer based unit sees the lack of heat/energy it will typically make some major adjustments. The first series of photos below illustrates this point very clearly. With a “bland background” the BST unit is clearly showing a product level, where the Microbolometer based unit is not. There are obviously a lot of factors that go into how any unit will function, including the environment and the operation of the unit, all of which are critical for a operator to understand. If the operator understands these factors they will have as good of a chance at getting a product level with a BST unit as they will with a Microbolometer based unit, if not all bets are off.

    It is my experience that propane that sits unaffected by phase change or external heat sources does not indicate a product level. The propane will reach a state of equilibrium at some point; and if there is no temperature difference, the TI has nothing to show. The one hour that Mike indicates may or may not be significant. As he well knows, TIs are very sensitive. Apparently sensitive enough to show the brakes and motor still hot from driving. I'd make an educated guess that there is still temperature difference in the propane vs. the vapor space as a result of that work too.
    I also have to disagree here on the propane comment. I have always had pretty good luck getting a product level with propane as long as the container or environment is not an issue. Remember if the surface of the container is highly reflective, the container is insulated, or if the container has any other abnormalities like a heavy label or protective coating it may not be possible to get an accurate level. Also remember significant heating or cooling by the environment can impact the ability to get a clear product level. Propane is typically stored in a “metal container”, liquid propane in contact with the metal container does a great job at conducting/absorbing heat, as a result the lower potion of the container will typically be cooler than the top half of the container. The second series of photos below all illustrate clear product levels in a number of containers which are full of Propane/LPG.

    My point in the picture was twofold: show that a product line is not always visible and look for other indicators that may help you determine if you have a reliable product line.
    Unfortunately some of the readers did not get those points, they got the point that you needed to have a phase change in order to be able to view a product level, which I believe drives home some of the points above, primarily that short explanations on very complicated topics can quickly lead to confusion.

    Mike is correct that construction and thickness of a container affect the TI’s ability to “read a level.” That does not, however, contradict my interpretation of the same image. Trainers cannot give FFs every possible image and teach them the answer. It is not like reading an EKG, where atrial fib always has a specific appearance. The user has to compare what he knows with what he sees and what his guts tell him and make an educated interpretation (hmmm, there's that word again) of what the TI is trying to show.
    Finally let me make it clear, this exchange between myself and Jonathan is not about who is right or who is wrong, it is about making sure that everyone who is reviewing this information is getting what they need to safely and effectively use Thermal Imaging. I used to go head to head with a number of people here, and at times the debates got pretty heated, fortunately I think we all learned a lot from those debates and we all actually still speak to one another in a civil manner! Hopefully this has helped with some of the confusion, please let us know what you think.

    Good Luck, Stay Safe,
    Attached Images Attached Images  
    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.

  10. #10
    Forum Member
    Bones42's Avatar
    Join Date
    Mar 2001
    Location
    Pt. Beach, NJ
    Posts
    10,694

    Default

    not about who is right or who is wrong
    and I'm learning from this one also! Gentlemen, please continue the good work.
    "This thread is being closed as it is off-topic and not related to the fire industry." - Isn't that what the Off Duty forum was for?

  11. #11
    Protective Economist
    Jonathan Bastian's Avatar
    Join Date
    Oct 2002
    Posts
    966

    Default

    Originally posted by torichardson
    Jonathan: I think we can address some TI issues in a 2-3 page article, but I also think we can’t touch other topics. Would you try to cover vertical ventilation operations in a 2-3 page article? You could give a very broad overview or a very detailed explanation of one very specific aspect but there is no way you could cover everything someone would need to know about the subject.
    Exactly. I don't think any of our brothers read Firehouse and think, "wow, glad I don't have to study the Essentials IV manual now!" Articles are designed to explain key points, expand ideas or offer new tips and uses.

    In the photo you used the product level on the truck in the foreground is not as clear as the product level on the truck in the background. This is for a number of reasons:
    1. the truck in the background is perpendicular to the imager, while the truck in the foreground is at an angle.
    2. the lower portions of the truck in the foreground is being shaded from the sunlight, versus the truck in the background which is being heated evenly.
    3. the tank construction on the 2 trucks is not the same.
    If you watch the entire video both product levels vary in intensity/clarity based on the angle at which they are being viewed. If you look at the additional pics I posted from the video you can actually see the product level more clearly.
    Your interpretation is not "wrong;" I just read the scene differently. In the full video the double-tanked truck never shows a clean product level like the recently driven truck. I believe phase change has something to do with that. The thermal effects of the sun are not overwhelming in the rest of the video, so I do not interpret that as quite as critical. You do. Nothing wrong with either interpretation.

    Your point about the background impacting the image is dead on, and it is a very important point to consider when you are trying to view a product level. However, I have to disagree here with the comment on BST. BST based imagers are “very stable” in that they do not drastically adjust their dynamic range/sensitivity especially when compared to a Microbolometer based imager. Based on my 6 years of experience, in general when a BST unit sees a lack of heat/energy it will make some minor adjustments, when a Microbolometer based unit sees the lack of heat/energy it will typically make some major adjustments.
    Mike, I disagree somewhat. Just use a BST and look at a building against the sky. You'll see the edges of the house become bright white, even though the rest of the building is gray. Because of the way a BST calculates relative temperatures in small groups of pixels, this anomoly occurs. The top of the storage tank is partially due to this, as evidenced by the vent pipes. A microbolometer looks at the whole scene and adjusts, as you note, everything to compensate. This "washes out" the microbolometer, while the BST just "whites up" the objects bordering the cold item (space).

    I also have to disagree here on the propane comment. I have always had pretty good luck getting a product level with propane as long as the container or environment is not an issue. Remember if the surface of the container is highly reflective, the container is insulated, or if the container has any other abnormalities like a heavy label or protective coating it may not be possible to get an accurate level.

    Unfortunately some of the readers did not get those points, they got the point that you needed to have a phase change in order to be able to view a product level, which I believe drives home some of the points above, primarily that short explanations on very complicated topics can quickly lead to confusion.
    Confusion? You offer one interpretation, I offer another. C'est la vie. They are not contradictory, so why confusion? I didn't get any emails or posts regarding confusion, but I hope this thread has helped whoever may have been confused.

    In my experiences, propane tanks that have sat unused do not show product lines. Resq14 indicated he has experienced the same problem. It is not any different than a 55-gallon drum sitting in a warehouse for 4 weeks; it is probably equalized and will not show a product line. As soon as you turn on the grill, however (easiest way to test and practice, BTW), the product line begins to appear. Why? I suggest it is the endothermic reaction of the phase change from liquid to gas.

    I cannot definitively say Mike's explanation is "wrong," because it isn't. He offers a logical interpretation and thought process on how he reached his conclusions. I, also, offer a logical interpretation and thought process on how I reached my conclusions. The idea, again, is that thermal imaging is not a "perfect science." The user has to interpret the picture. My goal is to help teach interpretation skills.

    Think about the last fire you saw on TV or in another jurisdiction: was the lead company wrong for pulling a 1.75" instead of a 2.5" line? Normally, we can't see definitively "yes" or "no." We can only offer our interpretation of the scene and make logical decisions based on the information we have. My goal is to help firefighters develop the skills to evaluate the information the TI gives, not tell them whether to pull a 2.5" line or not.
    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).

  12. #12
    dazed and confused
    Resq14's Avatar
    Join Date
    Dec 2000
    Location
    New England
    Posts
    1,993

    Default

    Per usual, you guys offer us tremendous information, and I just want to thank you for opting to participate in forums like this in such a professional manner.
    God Bless America!Remember all have given some, but some have given all.
    Google Is Your Friend™Helpful forum tip - a "must see" if you're new here
    Click this to search FH Forums!

  13. #13
    MembersZone Subscriber

    Join Date
    Mar 2003
    Posts
    94

    Default

    You guys said it, Once again this is not a battle of right or wrong, but a discussion of various view points, and I am glad to hear that so far everyone is learning more from it.

    You might want to grab some popcorn and a drink, and make sure you are comfortable, because this is a bit of a long one!

    Exactly. I don't think any of our brothers read Firehouse and think, "wow, glad I don't have to study the Essentials IV manual now!" Articles are designed to explain key points, expand ideas or offer new tips and uses.
    I think it is very important to remember that there is no “Essentials Manual” or any book out there that really covers Thermal Imaging. As such the “Basics” or the “Essentials” of Thermal Imaging is currently coming from articles. Unfortunately not everyone has a subscription to all of the Fire Service Magazines which means many Brothers haven’t gotten their hands on this info. As such, explaining key points, expanding ideas or offering new tips to people who don’t have the “Basics” to draw on can cause some problems when it comes to really understanding the material. To someone who has been through a solid TI Training Program and has a couple of years experience an article of key points, expanded ideas, or new tips may make perfect sense. To someone who has very little formal training and almost no experience it may not make any sense at all. Unfortunately I think there are still a lot of Brothers out there who are in the second category (due to no fault of their own), I say that because I work with them all of the time. As such I think we have to be very careful that when we put material out there that we explain it as basically and thoroughly as we possibly can.

    Your interpretation is not "wrong;" I just read the scene differently. In the full video the double-tanked truck never shows a clean product level like the recently driven truck. I believe phase change has something to do with that. The thermal effects of the sun are not overwhelming in the rest of the video, so I do not interpret that as quite as critical. You do. Nothing wrong with either interpretation.
    I think the photos (and video) speak for themselves. I would also not expect the two trucks to show an identical product level because of the reasons I previously stated, the big one being that the two tanks on the trucks are not of the same construction. I have always stressed that you can not compare product levels from unlike containers. If you are going to compare product levels they must come from containers of the same construction, be the same product, and they must be under the same environmental conditions. At least 2 of those factors come into play in this situation.

    On your “Phase Change Theory” I was not real sure about this issue so I spoke with an Engineer who has a PhD in Physics/Thermodynamics and here is his take on the situation: When liquefied propane goes through a phase change it will absorb energy. As long as the propane is boiling or changing state it will be cooler than the surrounding gas (gas inside the container). The more rapidly it boils or changes state, the colder it will get. However, when the propane stops boiling or changing states, the temp of the liquid and the gas will rather quickly (within seconds-minutes) return to approximately the same temp.
    Working with the above it could be possible that a phase change could cause a product level to appear where one had not been before, or a product level could become more distinct. However you would also have to consider 2 things:
    1. This change in temp would be very short lived once the phase change had stopped, once again this change could last as briefly as a few seconds or at the most would probably last a couple of minutes
    2. If the container was relatively full, and it was a good conductor like metal, the cooled liquid could cause the temp of the whole container to drop to a point where it would be pretty much equal, as such the whole container would get colder and the TI would not be able to pick up a difference in temp or identify a product level.

    So does all of this matter, I think it does if you’re going to really understand how a Thermal Imager is working and if you are going to try and make a decision on a product level.

    Mike, I disagree somewhat. Just use a BST and look at a building against the sky. You'll see the edges of the house become bright white, even though the rest of the building is gray. Because of the way a BST calculates relative temperatures in small groups of pixels, this anomoly occurs. The top of the storage tank is partially due to this, as evidenced by the vent pipes. A microbolometer looks at the whole scene and adjusts, as you note, everything to compensate. This "washes out" the microbolometer, while the BST just "whites up" the objects bordering the cold item (space).
    Jonathan, I don’t necessarily disagree with what you said above, however I think the pictures I posted are worth a thousand words and they illustrated the point I was trying to make about being able to detect product levels with the different types of technology very clearly. Once again I can’t stress enough the importance of knowing how your Thermal Imager works, and in the case of trying to identify product levels, when it will work, and when it won’t work. You have to be able to take advantage of the strengths and figure out how to work around the weaknesses.

    Confusion? You offer one interpretation, I offer another. C'est la vie. They are not contradictory, so why confusion? I didn't get any emails or posts regarding confusion, but I hope this thread has helped whoever may have been confused.
    In my opinion, and the opinion of others who contacted me, they were contradictory, your explanation for what was taking place did not match my explanation for what was taking place. To the people who had just heard or seen my explanation for the video/pics in one of my presentations, and then read your article and saw the same photo, it didn’t make sense to them that I had said one thing and you had said something else. I am also not surprised that you didn’t get any comments, 1. the people you have worked with had only heard your explanation, not mine, so there was no contradictory information, 2. this post has been viewed over 250 times but only 3 other people besides me and you have made any comments, 3. generally speaking sometimes when people are confused they are a bit “leery” to admit it in a public forum. All of the above is why this discussion is taking place, and why I think it is extremely important to try and get as much information out there as we can to build solid foundations and clear up any confusion.

    In my experiences, propane tanks that have sat unused do not show product lines. Resq14 indicated he has experienced the same problem. It is not any different than a 55-gallon drum sitting in a warehouse for 4 weeks; it is probably equalized and will not show a product line. As soon as you turn on the grill, however (easiest way to test and practice, BTW), the product line begins to appear. Why? I suggest it is the endothermic reaction of the phase change from liquid to gas.
    Once again I think the photos that I posted speak louder than words and clearly show that you can get a product level in a number of different containers holding propane under a number of different conditions. In the first series of photos below are some examples where you can’t get a product level. These are primarily because the container surface is reflective, which I believe was the actual scenario that Resq14 had referred to. Once again you may also not get a product level if the container is very thick or insulated, or if it is being impacted by a strong temperature influence such as heating by strong direct sunlight or extreme cold like Resq14 pointed out. You obviously have to take each scenario as it comes, use your skills and knowledge as best you can, and see what you get.

    Based on my experiences I also don’t agree with the comment on the 55 Gallon Drums. Once again if you look at the second series of photos below you will see that there are plenty of visible product levels, and this includes various types of drums under various types of conditions. Whether a drum has sat for 4 hours, 4 days, or 4 months should not make any difference unless the environmental conditions or the conditions in the drum have changed significantly during that time frame. The reason you can see a product level in the drum is not because there is a large temperature difference between the liquid in the drum and the air space above it, it is because the liquid is a much better conductor than air, so the part of the drum in contact with the liquid will be cooler than the part of the drum that is in contact with the airspace. This could also hold true for a solid product. REMEMBER, this is under normal ambient conditions, if you have a temperature extreme in one direction or the other this could change. If you look at the third series of photos below you will see the product level is actually light/white versus dark/black, this is because the surrounding environment is very cold (below freezing), so in this case the liquid propane is actually staying warmer and keeping that lower portion of the tank warmer. This isn’t my opinion or my interpretation of an image it is the laws of physics/thermodynamics which Thermal Imaging “Lives and Dies By”.

    I cannot definitively say Mike's explanation is "wrong," because it isn't. He offers a logical interpretation and thought process on how he reached his conclusions. I, also, offer a logical interpretation and thought process on how I reached my conclusions. The idea, again, is that thermal imaging is not a "perfect science." The user has to interpret the picture. My goal is to help teach interpretation skills.
    Actually “Thermal Imaging” is a science that is based on the Laws of Physics/Thermodynamics. “Image Interpretation” should be based off of that science and as such it can be very scientific and definitive under some circumstances. For example I would never try to determine a product level on an insulated container because according to the Laws there is no way I can get one. I could look at an insulated container and get what appeared to be a product level, but it would have to be a “false product level” caused by uneven heating/cooling or variations in construction. However there can be some circumstances where you can’t apply the Laws to “Image Interpretation” definitively and as such it can be an educated guess at best. The key to making this work is making sure that you understand the Laws, making sure you can apply them in the real world, and making sure you know when you have a scientifically backed result or an educated guess.

    Think about the last fire you saw on TV or in another jurisdiction: was the lead company wrong for pulling a 1.75" instead of a 2.5" line? Normally, we can't see definitively "yes" or "no." We can only offer our interpretation of the scene and make logical decisions based on the information we have. My goal is to help firefighters develop the skills to evaluate the information the TI gives, not tell them whether to pull a 2.5" line or not.
    Your analogy has some merit, but per the explanation above in my opinion it does not always apply to Thermal Imaging or Image Interpretation. With Thermal Imaging or Image Interpretation there can be a definitive yes/no or right/wrong in certain situations. Example, a crew is dispatched to a commercial location where compressed welding gases are stored on an “unusual odor, possible cylinder leak call”. On arrival a firefighter uses a thermal imager to look for a possible leaking cylinder, he looks for a vapor cloud coming from one of the cylinders but is not able to identify one. Based on that “Image Interpretation” the decision is made there is no leak. Unfortunately there was an acetylene leak, which finds an ignition source and levels the building in an explosion. This is not an issue of misinterpreting the image, this is a failure to know and understand the Laws that apply to Thermal Imaging, Thermal Imagers rarely detect a leaking vapor cloud, but they may detect a cold spot or cold cylinder indicating a leak. This is also a failure to use Thermal Imaging properly, the Thermal Imager should have also been accompanied by a Combustible Gas Meter which would have helped to insure the crew’s safety and would have been better equipped to detect the leaking acetylene. Could this happen? Unfortunately I know it has happened, fortunately another crew with a meter was backing up the first crew using just the thermal imager and they caught the leak and prevented the explosion.

    My goal is also to make sure that the Brothers and Sisters are educated about Thermal Imaging so that a scenario like the one above does not play out and end up getting someone injured or killed. We could never cover every possible scenario here, but hopefully we can provide the knowledge, and the Brothers can provide the reasoning and skills to hopefully make Thermal Imaging work in the real world.

    Hopefully to everyone out there this all making sense and hopefully everyone is getting something from it. If something is not clear please post your question here, or if you are not comfortable doing that please email me. If this is helping please let us know, if not please let us know so that we can try something else.

    HAPPY NEW YEAR TO ALL!

    Good Luck, Stay Safe,
    Attached Images Attached Images  
    Last edited by torichardson; 12-31-2004 at 05:51 PM.
    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.

  14. #14
    Protective Economist
    Jonathan Bastian's Avatar
    Join Date
    Oct 2002
    Posts
    966

    Default

    Originally posted by torichardson
    Your analogy has some merit, but per the explanation above in my opinion it does not always apply to Thermal Imaging or Image Interpretation. With Thermal Imaging or Image Interpretation there can be a definitive yes/no or right/wrong in certain situations. Example, a crew is dispatched to a commercial location where compressed welding gases are stored on an “unusual odor, possible cylinder leak call”. On arrival a firefighter uses a thermal imager to look for a possible leaking cylinder, he looks for a vapor cloud coming from one of the cylinders but is not able to identify one. Based on that “Image Interpretation” the decision is made there is no leak. Unfortunately there was an acetylene leak, which finds an ignition source and levels the building in an explosion. This is not an issue of misinterpreting the image, this is a failure to know and understand the Laws that apply to Thermal Imaging, Thermal Imagers rarely detect a leaking vapor cloud, but they may detect a cold spot or cold cylinder indicating a leak. This is also a failure to use Thermal Imaging properly, the Thermal Imager should have also been accompanied by a Combustible Gas Meter which would have helped to insure the crew’s safety and would have been better equipped to detect the leaking acetylene. Could this happen? Unfortunately I know it has happened, fortunately another crew with a meter was backing up the first crew using just the thermal imager and they caught the leak and prevented the explosion.
    I don't think I painted the picture otherwise. The key is to give FFs the knowledge to make educated decisions on how they interpret images. That includes knowing limitations and capabilities of TIs and their accessories. That's all I am trying to do.
    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).

  15. #15
    Protective Economist
    Jonathan Bastian's Avatar
    Join Date
    Oct 2002
    Posts
    966

    Default Mike R Email

    Mike: Your SMFD email keeps kicking back with a server problem as undeliverable. Can you email me your personal email address so I can respond to your email from last week?

    Thanks.
    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).

  16. #16
    Protective Economist
    Jonathan Bastian's Avatar
    Join Date
    Oct 2002
    Posts
    966

    Default

    Originally posted by torichardson
    Based on my experiences I also don’t agree with the comment on the 55 Gallon Drums. Once again if you look at the second series of photos below you will see that there are plenty of visible product levels, and this includes various types of drums under various types of conditions. Whether a drum has sat for 4 hours, 4 days, or 4 months should not make any difference unless the environmental conditions or the conditions in the drum have changed significantly during that time frame. The reason you can see a product level in the drum is not because there is a large temperature difference between the liquid in the drum and the air space above it, it is because the liquid is a much better conductor than air, so the part of the drum in contact with the liquid will be cooler than the part of the drum that is in contact with the airspace. This could also hold true for a solid product. REMEMBER, this is under normal ambient conditions, if you have a temperature extreme in one direction or the other this could change. If you look at the third series of photos below you will see the product level is actually light/white versus dark/black, this is because the surrounding environment is very cold (below freezing), so in this case the liquid propane is actually staying warmer and keeping that lower portion of the tank warmer.
    If a drum is 70F, and the product is 70F and the vapor space is 70F and everything is stable, there is no temperature difference for the TI to detect. It can't see a product line. I don't know if you are trying to prove my point or challenge this fact...maybe I missed something.

    Propane boils at -45F. I'd guess the large amount of deep space (at -470F or so) threw off the microbolometer calibration and made everything appear hotter than it should. Yes, presurizing the propane raises the boiling point, but the point is there is more than one factor at play here.
    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).

  17. #17
    MembersZone Subscriber

    Join Date
    Mar 2003
    Posts
    94

    Default

    There are a number of temperatures that come into play when you are trying to view a product level with a Thermal Imager, they include the temp of:
    1. Liquid or solid product in the container
    2. Air gap or vapor space in the container
    3. Container (surface) where the liquid or solid is in contact with it
    4. Container (surface) where the air gap is in contact with it
    5. Environmental conditions outside of the container

    If per your scenarios all 5 of these temps are the exact same, then you are correct the Thermal Imager will not be able to identify a product level. However in the real world these 5 temperatures are not always the same, and one of these temps only needs to change the surface temp of the container by less than 1 Degree F for a thermal imager to detect it. Why are the temperatures not the same? there are a number of reasons, some have to do with the environment, some have to do with Laws of Physics/Thermodynamics. I don’t know of many scenarios where 55 gallon drums are stored in environments where the temp is perfectly stable, even in buildings that are climate controlled the temp can easily vary by 5-10 Degrees F. Once again the photos are showing some very clear product levels and they came from a number of different scenarios including a climate controlled warehouse and an outside loading dock. I am willing to bet I am going to find a product level, when we are strictly talking about temp variations. If we are talking about construction variations (multiple paint layers, heavy labels, reinforced materials) or reflections (shiny finish, strong direct sunlight) then things change and you can go from not getting any level at all to getting a “false level”.
    For my presentation that I did at FDIC on Thermal Imaging & Haz Mat I specifically went into about 10 different facilities and looked at all kinds of drums & containers for product levels, assuming there were no construction or reflection issues, I would say I could get a good product level in at least 75-80% of them, not all of them, but the majority. I have attached some more images from those visits in the first series of photos below.

    I would agree with you that the Microbolometer Technology interacting with the background/sky has something to do with the Product Level in the propane tank being light versus dark. Why don’t you or Gary grab an MX, TIx, and T3, go across the tracks from Bullard to Perma-Cast to the large LP Tanks and get some Video/Photos so we can see how the different technologies would display the situation. If you can, try to do it when it is warmer (above 50 Degree F) and when it is colder (Below 32 F), it would be great to see how the changing environment impacts the image. I don’t have all 3 of the Thermal Imagers and the video capture capability like I used to or I would try to go out and get it. The primary point I was trying to make by posting the 2 photos was that you should remember that some product levels could be dark and some could be light depending on the conditions involved. I have attached some more images in the second series to illustrate this. In these the 55 gallon drums have a product that is going through an exothermic reaction, and the tank has product that is stored at an elevated temp.

    Jonothan, I think if we keep this up we could just about take this material and we would have a book on thermal imaging!

    If you are reading these posts, please jump in with your experiences. I have by no means been there and done and seen it all. I am sure someone out there has some experiences that we can learn from.

    Good Luck, Stay Safe,
    Attached Images Attached Images  
    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.

  18. #18
    dazed and confused
    Resq14's Avatar
    Join Date
    Dec 2000
    Location
    New England
    Posts
    1,993

    Default

    There are so many variables in these situations that it is hard to say "definetly," "always," etc.

    While the contents of the container might have differing temperatures in the vapor space and liquid, the only thing the camera is going to show is the external temperature of the container relative to the surroundings. Thus the contents will need to have a thermal effect on the container to delineate between vapor and liquid, AND this thermal effect must be pronounced enough in the given environment to be detectable via TIC.

    All the things that have been brought up will affect one part of this or the other.
    God Bless America!Remember all have given some, but some have given all.
    Google Is Your Friend™Helpful forum tip - a "must see" if you're new here
    Click this to search FH Forums!

  19. #19
    Protective Economist
    Jonathan Bastian's Avatar
    Join Date
    Oct 2002
    Posts
    966

    Default

    Originally posted by torichardson
    I would agree with you that the Microbolometer Technology interacting with the background/sky has something to do with the Product Level in the propane tank being light versus dark. Why don’t you or Gary grab an MX, TIx, and T3, go across the tracks from Bullard to Perma-Cast to the large LP Tanks and get some Video/Photos so we can see how the different technologies would display the situation. If you can, try to do it when it is warmer (above 50 Degree F) and when it is colder (Below 32 F), it would be great to see how the changing environment impacts the image.
    I'd love to, but I am not in Cynthiana enough to do it, neither is Gary and Perma-Cast is closed and dismantled!
    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).

Thread Information

Users Browsing this Thread

There are currently 1 users browsing this thread. (0 members and 1 guests)

Posting Permissions

  • You may not post new threads
  • You may not post replies
  • You may not post attachments
  • You may not edit your posts

Log in

Click here to log in or register