Thermal camera imaging is not a new technology but some of the ways it is used might be. The technology involved has become a diagnostic tool and has many uses and some of them can be lifesaving while others are not but still the best solution for the job at hand. The equipment used has gotten smaller and more user-friendly but the concept and the final product has not changed that much over the last few years.
What is Thermal Imaging
Just like it sounds, thermal imaging detects differing amounts of heat and cold and creates an image on a screen that displays those differences in colored segments. In most cases, the hottest areas are white or shades of red, yellow and orange and the cooler portions are displayed in blues and black. If the temperature of an item or area is important, a thermal camera can give you specific temperatures very quickly but you might be surprised some of the ways it is used.
Thermal Imaging In Fire Fighting
When you think about the job that firefighters have to do every day, thermal imaging makes sense for them. If a building is burning when they arrive on the scene, it is easy to know where to put the water. Consider the difference though if there is smoke and heat in the building but the fire has yet to break out. Firefighters use thermal imaging to check the walls and ceilings of the building for areas that show intense heat. Often that is where the fire is and these cameras can help them get to the fire while it is small and potentially save the building. They can also use thermal imaging for car fires or other heat-related hazards that could become a fire later.
Police Departments and Thermal Imaging
One of the very helpful things about thermal imaging is that is can pick up the heat changes left behind if your place a hand on a wall or run across open ground. In some parts of the country, police departments use thermal cameras on helicopters to search for suspects that are fleeing from them and at night, when officers on the ground are having a hard time finding them, the thermal camera can pick the suspect out very quickly. Often they can track the footprints left behind by the suspect and zero right in from above and tell officers where the suspect is hiding.
Thermal Imaging For Search and Rescue
Searching a large area for a missing person is another great use for a thermal camera. Like the police department, some search and rescue teams have mounted these systems on helicopters to use as a tool for searching remote areas for people that have been reported missing. The reduction is search time can make a major difference to an injured hiker or a lost child, and having a positive influence on the final outcome.