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September 27th, 2006

How did they know about Mr. Potatohead?

Thermal Imager

Some of you may have wondered, what does it *really* look like inside a burning building? It looks like this:

smokeCollapse )

This is "fake" smoke generated as part of a training exercise in the soon to be demolished former Albion Police/Fire Department building. In an actual fire, visibility isn't quite this good.

Now, here's the same room, with the picture held a few inches from our high-dollar thermal imager camera:

heaterCollapse )

What you're seeing is a space heater in one corner of a room, simulating the heat of a fire. Not nearly as hot as the real thing. Here's a group of firefighters on the other side of a large room, in zero visibility:

hot_firefightersCollapse )

So, with the thermal imager we can see sources of heat -- whether open burning or hidden in the walls and ceiling -- other firefighters, victims, holes in the floors, escape routes ...

Without the thermal imager, which costs about $10,000, we can see .... nothing. Any questions about why we really love those things? There. I've done my part for Fire Prevention and Education Week. :-)

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