Thermal imaging technology found its way into the fire fighting industry years ago and has since become ubiquitous. Gone are the days of training on tedious search methods and using half of your air supply just becoming oriented.
Despite the significant improvement to operational prowess achieved with the handheld thermal imaging camera, it still comes with a big drawback. While fire fighters are able to view a crystal-clear image of their surroundings in smoke so thick that they wouldn’t even be able to see their own hand without the handheld thermal imaging camera, the good visibility comes at the expense of one of the fire fighters’ most important locator tools – his hands! Using a handheld thermal imaging camera presents a conflict of interest, so to speak. Either I can see but not extinguish with my nozzle, or I can use my nozzle but can’t see where the extinguishing agent is going.
I believe that the new helmet thermal imaging camera is the beginning of a new era. Gone are the times when I had to deal with this conflict of interest and think about the best way to stow the device or how to hold it in front of me while crawling without losing it.
And this is how it works
Ideally, one of my colleagues attaches the C1 helmet thermal imaging camera to my HEROS-titan helmet before the inside fire attack and I’m good to go. If visibility is still good when I enter, I can just fold the display to the side with the flexible goose neck. When it becomes dark, I activate the integrated LED lamp, 280 lumens strong, with the push of a button. But when more light is no longer the answer, I simply take a knee and position the display in front of my eyes to have clear visibility again. Admittedly, it takes a few seconds to get used to the display in front of your eyes, but in “zero visibility conditions,” you’ll never want to be without the device. After testing numerous times, I have no doubt that this device not only reduces the amount of time spent on inside fire attacks, but also increases safety, since you are always able to see what is happening around you.
Long live the helmet thermal imaging camera
The camera is also quite remarkable in terms of service life and maintenance. Until now, cameras have needed a shutter for calibrating the sensor. The heart of the new C1 helmet thermal imaging camera, on the other hand, is a novel “shutter-less engine,” the greatest advantage of which is that the shutter is no longer built-in. And if it’s not there can’t break. Furthermore, power is now supplied by two lithium-ion size AA batteries. These batteries are not only powerful, but also extremely affordable to replace. Both the “shutter-less engine” as well as the lithium-ion batteries make the camera especially favorable in terms of replacement costs and maintenance.
And now I am curious to hear your opinion!
What do you think about the concept behind our C1 helmet thermal imaging camera? Do you think it will make your job as a fire fighter easier?