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Thermal cameras are an absolutely essential tool to add to any firefighting professionals' selection of equipment.
Since thermal cameras don't rely on visible light to create images and instead detect the IR radiation being given off by objects, this means thermal cameras aren't limited in what they can see by darkness or - in the case of firefighters - thick smoke. Thermal cameras are able to be used to see through smoke inside properties, and are a great tool for firefighters to use to see exactly where they are going in difficult environments.
The benefits of thermal cameras don't stop there though - firefighters can also use the thermal camera to analyse the distribution of fires, and they can be used to predict where the fire might spread to and action can be taken before this happens. They can also be used to accurately detect thermal signatures given off by human bodies, and can aid with saving lives by finding and rescuing trapped people quickly.
Thermal cameras used in firefighting applications comes in different forms; the most common are handheld thermal imaging systems, which firefighters can hold up to the targeted application whenever needed. There are also devices such as Guide's FireFitIR HT11 Helmet-Mounted Camera which can be integrated directly into a firefighter's helmet for comprehensive thermal detection. Using this camera its also possible to create what is essential a thermal network where the image seen by the camera is relayed wirelessly to a control point, and the person at the computer can advise the firefighter quickly on the best course of action by using the relayed thermal images to make decisions.