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While I hope to offer some thoughts on integrating a thermal imaging camera (TIC) into your engine operations, there is a litany of information to be learned about thermal imaging, including what it is and what it is not. You truly owe it to yourself and your members to get accurate training from a dedicated and respected thermal imaging training group consisting of TIC experts.
Too many firefighters use a great tool with mediocre training that was provided by an aggressive and spin-savvy salesperson. Any suppression firefighter must understand the capabilities and pitfalls, advantages and dangers, of using a TIC. So do your research, and do it right.
I’m a truck company operations guy. That is where I served a majority of my time and developed the skill sets for what I like to do. So why do I care about the engine company’s abilities and performance?
Simple. The engine company is going to get water on the fire so the vast majority of the fireground problems go away. If the search team is on the floor above the fire, they certainly want the engine company to get to the seat of the fire rapidly and get it under control. Victims and trapped occupants certainly want the situation resolved.
This is why, in the reality of short-staffed companies, it is critical to use equipment that expands capabilities, such as the TIC. The TIC has come into its own as a valuable tool, and technological improvements in ability, performance, image quality, and ergonomics have occurred.