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  • Cairns IRIS Helmet mount

    We just got this unit used and so far and practiced with it some. Any advice for us. What are its best and worst points. We are a very small rural fire dept so this even though it's a older unit is a great addition for us. We plan to use it for search and rescue, Rit, ect.

  • #2
    Plusses...

    Hands free operation.

    Minusses...

    transferring to another user
    camera can be pointing off at an angle and won't notice
    when it fails, cumbersome to carry around when flipped up out of the way
    "This thread is being closed as it is off-topic and not related to the fire industry." - Isn't that what the Off Duty forum was for?

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    • #3
      How is it as far as operation? Does the image work well under most fire conditions? Also am i correct in saying the while when you look at a person during training they apear light color (grey) but in a fire conditon they would probably be dark on color due to the heat of the fire area and air in the room being higher then body temp?

      P.S. Hello from Arkansas I grew up in Barnegat Light down on Long Beach Island. I have been to the Point many times.

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      • #4
        I remember years ago, for a while, there was a beer named Barnegat Light. I think they dunked an empty can in the bay, put a top on it, and sold it as "beer".

        Objects show up according to their difference in heat level. In a hot room, a warm body would show up as a darker object. In a normal room temperature setting, a body will show up as a brighter object.

        Also take into account, the object will normally not show if it's being blocked by something, like behind a couch/bed/etc. Glass also has some interesting effects on TIC's.

        If you are like a lot of departments, most of your TIC practice/training will occur in smoke environments and very little heat. And that's Ok, you just need to make sure guys realize the difference in how a body will look in different heat conditions.

        I have seen many guys that can find everything in a non-fire room, but when there is actual heat, they can't find much.

        We have been using propane space heaters to warm a room up more so the body shows as the colder object.

        Also, and most important, don't forget normal sound basic firefighting search tactics...cuz when the battery dies and/or the camera fails, you still need to have some orientation of where you are and how you got there.
        "This thread is being closed as it is off-topic and not related to the fire industry." - Isn't that what the Off Duty forum was for?

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        • #5
          No actually the Barnegat light beer was firtered through the screens of the dregde that tried to deepen the inlet lol

          Yes i have noticed some weird effect with glass. I was at my moms house looking at things in her house and i could see the wook stove in the imager even thought i was looking at the refection in a picture window. Yet if i went outside and looked at a picture window directly infront of the stove as i was looking at it, I could see anything looking like the outline of the stove. But inside i could even see my own reflection in the imager off the picture window. Weird lol

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          • #6
            Yup. Heat don't show through a window, only the window temp itself.
            "This thread is being closed as it is off-topic and not related to the fire industry." - Isn't that what the Off Duty forum was for?

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            • #7
              About 10 to 15 years ago when the Cairns IRIS Helmet came out, my department purchased one. We went through extensive training to learn the pros and cons of these devices. Here are a few:

              Pros: (really big pros)
              - hands free
              - they detect heat (within 1/2 degree), and project a signature to a screen

              Cons:
              - the camera is mounted on the side (This makes it difficult for the wearer to actually grab objects. If the wearer wants to grab objects, you should reach with the hand that is on the same side as the camera. Make a "V" shape with your thumb and pointer finger and reach for the object. Ideally, you should direct other team members to perform the work while you stay back as a guide. This can be practiced by entangling a victim, blingfolding a rescuer, and have a person try to talk the rescuer through freeing the victim. You don't even have to wear the helmet to practice this)

              More to follow
              "...there isn't a firefighter in the free world who is forced to join this profession." -John Norman

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              • #8
                part 2...

                - It will not read heat through water, glass or metal (You must practice, practice, practice to learn its capabilities.)
                - Chiefs (They will want to open up every wall that shows heat. You need to learn the difference between the signature left by radiant heat vs actual fire. Radiant heat appears as a soft glow. Fire (behind walls) appears very sharp and bright.)
                - You must still use good search practices. (I was pretty deep into a fire one time when my imager decided to call it quits. Luckily I had payed attention to my progress and had a few good landmarks. It is easy to get comfortable with what you are seeing and forget about good search technique.)

                Check out the Thermal Imager training evolutions in the "Training" section of Firehouse.com
                "...there isn't a firefighter in the free world who is forced to join this profession." -John Norman

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                • #9
                  Thank you for the great information. especially the part about heated walls and fire behind the walls. We will probably have to build a fake wall and practice showing both. thanks again

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                  • #10
                    There are plenty of great firefighters on this site with a tremendous amount of knowledge on TICs. Don't hesitate to ask for help. AND... if there is anything else that I can do for you, please fell free to send me a PM.

                    Final words of advice... learn the camera inside and out. Be able to change batteries blind-folded with your fire gloves on. (If I remember correctly, those batteries never seemed to last very long.)
                    "...there isn't a firefighter in the free world who is forced to join this profession." -John Norman

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                    • #11
                      The CairnsIRIS thermal camera was THE first fire camera in the world that used solid state FPA technology. ½ degree sensitivity, ferroelectric – and has a chopper wheel with lots of Germanium in it. Read – expensive to maintain – very.

                      The fellow that designed the CairnsIRIS is a Scottish guy named Iain Matthews, who worked for British defense contractor GEC Marconi – who also made the sensor that went into the IRIS camera. 100X100 PbZr (lead zirconite). No one uses that material anymore. Today, alpha-silicon or vanadium oxide is used. The Cairns guy who envisioned bringing thermal imaging to market, and hooked-up Cairns with Marconi, was Chris Coombs.

                      Iain Matthews then worked for us (in our UK plant) for a number of years after leaving Marconi. He left ISG and now works for a very small company that makes surveillance cameras called SSI out of the UK. He owns part of that company.

                      Chris Coombs spun off the SCBA division of (what was then) Cairns and Brother (now owned by MSA). Remember the Cairns Pioneer airpak? Not the most stellar performer but was ahead of its time in the late 1980s in electronics. Actually the first with a mask mounted LED air pressure gauge. Today, the company and the airpak is gone as far as I know. Today, Chris is still working around the periphery of thermal imaging but I am not too sure where.

                      Here is some trivia – who of you guys have EVER worn a Cairns airpak? I’ll be surprised if anyone responds to this question. It had flow of 360 lpm – barely NFPA compliant. In contrast, Scott 50 blows around 600 LPM into the mask. That’s one big reason very few bought Cairns.

                      Cairns does not support the IRIS camera and will not repair it anymore. However, at ISG, we have some customers who still have some of the old IRIS cameras – and we have managed to fix them in the past as a courtesy to our customers – even if we didn’t make them. One caveat, if we can’t repair the old parts, you are S*** out of luck because we can’t get any replacement parts anywhere on the planet! We will try to fix the old parts however.

                      If you have problems with the IRIS, call us, we MIGHT be able to help, with a little luck from the gods.

                      David A. Little
                      Chief Executive Officer
                      ISG Thermal Systems USA, Inc.
                      Atlanta, GA
                      (877) 733-3473

                      PS: ISG makes thermal imagers, in case you didn't know.

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                      • #12
                        who of you guys have EVER worn a Cairns airpak?
                        Only in evaluations at live fire drills. Didn't like the mask at all.
                        "This thread is being closed as it is off-topic and not related to the fire industry." - Isn't that what the Off Duty forum was for?

                        Comment


                        • #13
                          If you got your Cairns Iris helmet for free then it's worth every cent you paid for it.

                          If you paid more, not so much...

                          It's better than nothing but only marginally, IMHO.

                          Just remember the cardinal rule of using a thermal imaging camera: Never get yourself into a spot with one that you can't get out of without it.
                          Last edited by DeputyMarshal; 03-05-2007, 04:32 PM.
                          "Nemo Plus Voluptatis Quam Nos Habant"
                          sigpic
                          The Code is more what you'd call "guidelines" than actual rules.

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                          • #14
                            Originally posted by volfireman034 View Post
                            Also am i correct in saying the while when you look at a person during training they apear light color (grey) but in a fire conditon they would probably be dark on color due to the heat of the fire area and air in the room being higher then body temp?
                            If you want tips on training with and using a thermal imager, visit the Technology section of Firehouse.com. There are also monthly TI articles in Firehouse magazine.
                            My comments are sometimes educated, sometimes informed and sometimes just blowing smoke...but they are always mine and mine alone and do not reflect upon anyone else (especially my employer).

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                            • #15
                              Thanks for the "Trip Down Memory Lane" David!

                              Glad to hear that you are trying to help out with keeping the IRIS in service.

                              We also donated our IRIS to a Volunteer Dept when we went to Hand Held Units. I think they used them for a year or two and scrapped them due to operational issues.

                              If anyone needs help on training with the IRIS, you may want to check with SAFE-IR (www.safe-ir.com). They partially came into existence because they were hired by Cairns to provide training to Depts who purchased an IRIS. I would say that you would have a hard time finding someone who has their background and experience when it comes to using the IRIS.

                              While a lot of "Thermal Imaging Training Basics" would apply to the IRIS, it also has some unique and quirky issues that must be addressed. The biggest one is probably the issues related to depth perception and spatial reality.

                              Good Luck and Stay Safe!
                              Last edited by torichardson; 03-06-2007, 12:39 PM.
                              Mike Richardson
                              Captain, Training Officer
                              St Matthews FD, Louisville KY
                              "aka TIman"
                              [email protected]

                              TI Training = www.safe-ir.com

                              The information and views above are in no way associated with my employer, and are strictly my own.

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