At the fire brigade, thermal imaging cameras can help save lives. More and more fire brigades are expanding their equipment to include high-quality thermal imagers that can be used to search for people in the event of a fire.

Use at the fire brigade

feuerwehr_wasserIf the fire brigade has to respond to a fire, the following occurs frequently. A building is in flames and it must be assumed that there were people inside. However, it is usually unclear whether everyone left the building in time and is safe. The fire brigade must therefore not only to control the fire, but also rescue the remaining victims as quickly as possible.

Thermal imaging cameras and smoke

693ca659f9f8f4a2_640_firefighters-cameraIn building fires, there is often a strong smoke development, which is a major problem for firefighters in two respects. On the one hand, the visibility is extremely limited and, in some cases, the rescue forces with heavy equipment (respiratory protection) even have to enter “blindly” to the fire hearth and move forward. On the other hand, people with no respiratory protection, who have not noticed the fire fast enough, are exposed to smoke poisoning, orientation disorders or even unconsciousness. Then, as soon as possible, help must be given and injured persons brought out of the fire area.

Thanks to modern thermal imaging cameras, the technology can help to gain an advantage over natural forces. Thermal imaging cameras are mostly unaffected by smoke and can improve the view with the help of the representation of infrared radiation (thermal image). You can almost see through smoke. Flaming and covert fire hearths can also be discovered with them. The fire brigade can thus quickly ensure that no smoldering fires are overlooked during the operation and no dangerous re-ignition of the fire occurs. Even people who have become unconscious due to strong smoke developement can be found in time with a thermal imaging camera in poor visibility and under time pressure.
The body emits infrared radiation that make distinguish it on the thermal image from the environment and lifeless objects. Rescue forces can gain valuable time in the search for people, which, as so often, makes the difference between life or death.


See more in the dark – Rescue


If people are reported missing and there is a suspicion that they are in the open and in a state of emergency, rescue forces with the latest equipment can be able to save lives. Rescue helicopters are often equipped with high-resolution thermal imaging cameras, which can capture signs of life from high altitude.

Not infrequently, hikers find themselves in a state of distress on the ground and can not move further. Rescue forces are then confronted with the problem of looking for a person in a large-scale area. With thermal imaging cameras, thermal emissions from people can be detected from the sky and even be automatically distinguished from other heat sources thanks to the latest software. In a short span of time, a large area can be searched for life signs and help can be provided promptly in many emergencies.

Other areas of application of a thermal imager …