In thermal imaging, firefighters are trained to recognize areas of concern based on heat. However, areas that are cold, appear cold, or that are dark should not be overlooked. The use of thermal imaging in industry is often used more to look for leaks, air infiltration/exfiltration, and thermal bridging where heat is being lost. This is demonstrated in the following inspection photo (provided by Infrared Training Center) where we see heat loss in the uninsulated portion of the attic stairs. In an environment where every second counts, firefighters should be aware of areas with lesser temperatures as this is often where [...]
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The Power of Grey Scale: With the recent release of UL’s research paper on “Evaluation of Thermal Imaging Camera Spot Temperature Measurements in Structure Fires” (see link below) https://drum.lib.umd.edu/handle/1903/25361 We have had many discussions with fire service professionals on two very important topics in thermal imaging: Color PalettesThe Spot Temperature Firefighters need to understand the power and the value of each of these concepts. Notice in the following video, the firefighters are seated around the corner from a fire room. Without proper training and understanding, a firefighter would be inclined to think they are in a low temperature environment. However, this [...]
Spontaneous Combustion Anyone? Each year, there are many fires that occur from this phenomena that involve: MulchLandfillsSilosRecycling PlantsAnd more… What causes this to occur? As seen in this short video, the surface temperatures of this 3’ mulch pile were “apparent temperatures” of approximately 60-70 degrees Fahrenheit. Whereas when we rake back the mulch just a few inches under the surface we see “apparent temperatures” of anywhere between 110-130 Degrees Fahrenheit. As wood decomposes, it creates heat. This heat can be sufficient enough to start a fire and in many cases it will be a smoldering fire that can go unnoticed for [...]
In many fire behavior/thermal imaging classes, identification of the thermal layer is taught to assist in identification of overall severity of conditions. However, if we don't know/understand our TIC this can cause us great harm as this is two TIC's looking at the same fire. The thermal layer is defined as the line or space between the superheated areas and the cold area below. This is not to be confused with the concept known as a neutral plane. The neutral plane is the area between the exhaust and the intake at an opening and can only be identified once an opening [...]
Impressed by All the Cool Colors? Don't be fooled... Not all palettes or application modes are intended for fire ground use. Some manufacturers include palettes that are used in the industrial setting to find and better highlight problems with temperature differences that are low compared to the differences in temperature found on the fire ground. For example this is what the User Manual for the Seek Reveal FirePRO states concerning the "Color" mode (commonly referred to as Rainbow): "This is a demonstration mode and is best-suited for the classroom, which highlights areas of heat in red with colorful borders as the [...]
Understanding Distance to Spot Ratio: In thermal imaging, the two most critical attributes are emissivity and distance to spot ratio. However, these two areas are often neglected, misunderstood, or totally incorrectly shared with firefighters. For example, many firefighters tend to only read the numerical temperature reading in the lower right corner of the view finder otherwise known as the “spot temperature” or direct temperature measurement. This is a very dangerous issue. Here is why: The spot temperature is a numerical representation of the average of a certain number of pixels within the focal point (or cross hairs) at a preset distance [...]
When travelling to conferences or training weekends teaching thermal imaging to firefighters we are repeatedly asked which brand camera is the best? While everybody has their preferences, the more practical is “the one you have been thoroughly trained to use.” Sure, there are differences between color palettes, grips, and sensitivity modes but, that is an object focused mentality. How competently you apply the camera to your operations will mean more than the name the case bares. Much of the United States fire service has failed in this area for the last couple decades. The technology integrated into the cameras has far [...]
What does NFPA 1801 state in regard to colorization? Section 220.127.116.11.9 In the TI BASIC mode, the heat color reference bar shall have a color scale that includes only the following colorization: Grey- at the bottom of the heat color reference bar before color indication begins and shall not be more than 50 percent of the overall height of the heat color reference bar.Yellow- at the low end of the heat color reference barOrange- in the middle of the heat color reference barRed- at the high end of the heat color reference bar This the NFPA 1801 approved color/temperature progression for thermal [...]
TIC’s can’t see through glass? They actually can’t see through anything but you’d be amazed what you can see! Check out our Blog Post-Overcoming Thermal Imaging Camera limitations: Firefighters are taught that thermal imaging cameras cannot see through glass and this is technically correct. But, have we considered the following: Depending on the type of glass, IR energy can be transmitted through single pane leaded glass or automotive glass with high metal contents. The materials that frame the glass emit/absorb heat thereby can produce a noticeable heat signature known as thermal bridging.The caulk and insulation around the openings (windows and doors) [...]
Low Hertz, Hurts Performance Ever been frustrated with your internet connection as it seems to make live videos freeze for a second and then catches back up quickly? Thus causing you to miss pieces of information you had been glued to the screen to see. The same thing can happen with your thermal imaging camera. Imagine scanning a room in a hurried yet controlled motion to aid your search. Yet, as you move the camera from shoulder to shoulder it freezes causing you to not see half the room as your partner moves ahead to perform a hands on search. This [...]