Thermal imaging is not a new technology, but it is growing and improving rapidly. The technology has some very practical applications that are used in the world around you every day. One of those is in the public safety arena, and thermal cameras are making it easier for public safety officials to do a hard job. 

Thermal Imaging and Locating People

You hear about the police using a thermal camera to track a criminal from a helicopter, and that is something they can do, but that same system can be beneficial in a situation with a lost or missing person in a dense area that is hard to search. Because the camera picks up the temperature difference between a person's body and the ground or vegetation around them, the camera operator can often locate a person on the ground that they can not physically see.

This technology, from a search and rescue perspective, can be game-changing. The sensitivity of the system and the operator's experience make a difference in how useful the tool is, but having it available can be the first big hurdle for many public safety organizations. 

Fire Safety and Rapid Intervention

Thermal imagining is an excellent tool for firefighters as well. The camera can be mounted on a helmet or handheld, and it makes it possible for firefighters to see a person inside a smoke-filled environment. In some cases, the camera allows the operator to see someone just feet from them that they might otherwise have passed right by. 

Thermal imaging is also an excellent tool for reducing damage to a structure. If firefighters believe there is a fire in a wall, for instance, they can use the camera to check the wall for hot spots and determine if they need to open the wall up or not. In the past, a wall that was suspect would just be opened to check for fire, and if there was no fire there, often the damage was chalked up as necessary to ensure the fire had not spread. 

Electrical Emergencies

Many times, an electrical short results in hot wires or motors on equipment. A thermal imaging camera can pick up that heat as well. Wiring running through a wall that has a short in it can produce enough heat to cause a fire, and that heat will show up on the thermal camera if the operator knows what they are looking for. 

The heat can also help an electrician track down and fix a problem before the problems cause more permanent damage.