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Who should operate the Thermal Imager

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  • Who should operate the Thermal Imager

    Our Volunteer fire dept is very fortunate to have been able recently purchase a new Bullard TIC and we are having a difficult time agreeing on who, in a crew of three (nozzel, tools & crew leader) should operate the imager. We have had a lot of discussion on this and heard a lot of variations and reasonings. Can anyone offer some ideas, pros and cons to this matter or offer your departments SOP and why. Thanks for your help!

  • #2
    Well first of all you can eliminate the nozzle man (person) they already have their hands full. the second man should be feeding and holding hose for nozzle man. As A crew leader, It is your responsibility to be directing the crew. So, I would say crew leader.
    However, you will find that during an aggressive fire attack you wont be using the camera. Most if it's use will be for search and rescue(which hopefully wont need to be done to often) and overhaul. So pass it
    around a little.



    • #3
      Well, i would think that it would be the crew leader. The nozzle guy is gonna be busy with controlling the hose, and the tool guy is gonna have his hands full with the tools. I think it should be someone who doesn't have to carry anything, but is still in the attack crew. The other two are gonna be preoccupied with their own duties. The crew leader can put all his attention to the camera. That is my opinion, and it is a good question. I'd like to see what others think.


      • #4
        Having had considerable experience with Bullard and TI's in general I would also agree that the crew leader/officer should handle the imager.

        Usually you would want the person with the freest hands to operate a new tool.

        As you enter the structure, you should continue normal search patterns, dont let the imager change your patterns or your physical conduct inside the structure, its going to be hard to do. Once you gain experience with the imager you will really like it.Once you save a life you will want to buy more of them.

        Another advantage is Ive never had a rekindle after using a thermal imager to check hotspots.


        • #5
          Does your department have a ladder company or any company for that matter who is going to be assigned as the search group? If you do, I would place the camera in the hands of the company officer or leader of the search crew. When that company goes to search a room or area, the officer stays at the door or entrance to the room and directs the crew as needed. This accomplishes a couple of things.
          1. Allows the officer to supervise his members and look for deteriorating conditions that may affect his crew.
          2. By standing at the doorway,it allows the members to have a reference point(via voice or light) to get out of the room if conditions warrant.
          3. Allows Officer to efficiently direct the searching members to a victim if located via the TIC ("Go straight ahead...to your right...up on the bed right in front of you...you got him")

          In my opinion, I would guard against giving the TIC to the attack group. Reason being is that they are going to be preoccupied with suppressing the fire along with the company officer. The company officer should be supervising his crew watching for deteriorating conditions and making sure the members are constantly advancing and making headway.

          But, if all you got is one company, then giving the company officer the TIC is the way to go.

          Kevin M. Fitzhenry, [email protected]
          Firefighter, Truck Co. 2
          City of Bayonne (NJ) FD

          [This message has been edited by FitzBFDT2 (edited 05-04-2001).]


          • #6
            Thanks for the input! I agree with the crew leader option. The crew leader should be the eyes, ears and danger gauge for his crew, whith his radio in his ear, his eyes scaning everywhere and being aware of possible dangers. We are dedicated to crew integrity, keeping tight and keeping the nozzel between the fire and the crew, so position of crew members is bring up some of the questions. Nozzel has his hands full for sure, and I agree that Tools has his hands full, unless Tools has a tool belt or pack of some sort, but even then with the importance of hose management his hands are going to be full moving hose anyway. So I believe the Crew Leader is the one.

            Here is a couple thoughts that have been brought up in our department:

            1.The Crew Leader is behind the crew and so Nozzle and Tools are going blind and how about blocked forward view?

            2.What If Crew Leader gets locked into veiwing the screan and loses track of other surounding events? I guess that is where training comes in and having a good crew leader.

            3.How important is it to have Crew Leader behind the crew, why not along side?

            4.If the TIC is in front than Nozzle and Tools can veiw the screan too.

            Just some of the thoughts from or guys.

            We intend a variety of uses for the TIC so my question is basiclly geared toward primary search and RIT.


            • #7
              MT.....We also use our Bullard extensively. It goes in with fire attack if there is no SAR. The company officer is usually along side the nozzleman. The Bullards viewing screen is big enough to show the nozzleman what's up front. One time in particular I was on the knob for a 1 story residential fire. Started in the basement with extension in the attic. I was in the kitchen trying to get the hose stream through a hole in the ceiling into the attic. Couldn't even see the end of the nozzle through the smoke. Capt. stuck the Bullard in front of my face, found the hole and knocked down the attic fire extemely quick. So I am all for the crew leader having it. It is not the end-all of tools, but it is a useful one when you need it. We have also used it for SAR drills in the pitch black basement of our station. We transmit to a monitor in the truck bay so the officers and f.f.'s who already went through can watch and comment (constructively of course!!)


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