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Discussion Starter · #1 ·
My department is looking into buying a handheld thermal imaging camera similar to the ones the FD has. The department looks to be leaning towards a hand held model over the vehicle mounted camera and will probably be sitting in the Sgt.s trunk until needed. My question is this, has anyone out there used one in a real life situation to track someone running through the woods, and if so did it work? I am also curious if anyone out there used one instead of calling in a K9 unit to track?
 

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I have used the vehicle mounted units. When we first got them we tested them out by having our own guys try to hide at night in tall grass and in the woods. I was not impressed. They seem to work better at short range. I have never used a hand-held unit.
 

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Discussion Starter · #4 ·
Kate, not quit what I was looking for but I'll take all the lovin I can get :) <3

Militia thanks for the response. The department is looking away from vehicle mounted due to obvious limitations while searching through woods etc. If we get them next year it will be interesting to see if their worth it and save on time.
 

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Why not borrow or work with your local FD (assuming that they have them) and see what they can do for you?

If your FD doesn't own them, try a nearby FD that does. Many bought them after the terrible fire in Worcester some years ago.
 

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STM, good to know! I remember donating money to our FD to purchase them after the Worcester tragedy.

OP is in CT and (having lived there for 3 years back in the early 1970s) I know that most/many FDs in CT are strictly call departments, get most of their money from Bingos (at least back then), beer fests :twisted: and fund raising drives. Thus, we can't be too sure that his FD has that gear.
 

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Discussion Starter · #8 ·
We've borrowed our FD's numerous times while looking for crash N dash subjects in woods and road sides. Supposedly the TIC we're looking to get is better than the FD's. At least thats what the white shirts tell us. Lens is right, our FD is half proffesional, half volunteer. What I'm really curious about is if a TIC can replace a dog in searches?
 

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Nothing beats a good dog. Usually one doesn't know the direction to start looking....the dog does though. I have seen countless finds by K'9, especially in large buildings where cameras won't do it.

In high growth areas, these cameras may not be too effective because you're looking from the same ground level. They are very impressive from the air though. Call the air wing. I'm pretty sure they have them on board.
 

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Been involved with using a TIC in the woods 3 times. 2 were jail escapes. (actually runaways from work crews) and 1 oui driver hiding from us after a MVA.

TIC worked twice. The driver and one of the runaways who in both cases were stationary hiding in the bushes.

The other runaway was in fact on the move and was located by dogs on the scene working with a helicopter.

Personnally I don't think the TIC replaces dogs. The TIC doesn't track, has a range limitation and is less usefull in higher temp situations. ( in Texas where these 3 incidents occurred the imager didn't decern a human that well when the ambient temp was 95 to 105)
 

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I have been involved in several calls were a handheld thermal imager was used by means of mutual aid from the on-call fire department. Generally they have been successful catching the suspect. The most recent was a crash, driver bailed, K9 was called and began to track the suspect. When he hit on the scent, the trooper would have the FF operating the camera look toward a specific area. Although the driver ended up popping out of the woods several hours after the track was called off, it still was a good set of "extra eyes" to look through the wooded terrain during the couple hours we were searching during the mid shift. Overall, I would say it could only be helpful if the department had a handheld one available.
 

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Len,
After W6 the state bought every one at least 1 TI. ALL fire departments in the Commonwealth have a TI, dont let them make you think otherwise. It is a Bullard Model T-1

I was a firefighter for 13 years in central mass. The state did not buy anyone a camera after dec 3. My dept scrounged until we had enough to buy two.
 

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Nothing replaces a dog. I mean if you had a helicopter unit, that might come pretty close but thermal is not going to be a dog that can track.
 
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