NIST recommendations address thermal imagers for first responders

Researchers at the National Institute of Standards and Technology (NIST; Gaithersburg, MD) have submitted recommendations to the National Fire Protection Association (Quincy, MA) that outline evaluation methods for detector performance and image quality of thermal imagers.

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Researchers at the National Institute of Standards and Technology (NIST; Gaithersburg, MD) have submitted recommendations to the National Fire Protection Association (Quincy, MA) that outline evaluation methods for detector performance and image quality of thermal imagers. Firefighter applications represent less than 10% of the $1.2 billion worldwide annual market for IR cameras and there are currently no standards that exist for firefighters. “Standardized performance metrics and test methods should improve the selection process for these potentially life-saving devices that cost an average of $10,000 each,” said Francine Amon, leader of the NIST team.

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The NIST researchers suggest performance metrics that would reveal a thermal camera’s ability to: detect unusually hot spots, such as electrical outlets and light ballasts; guide fire-hose streams toward the fire source; “size up” thermal conditions inside a building, such as hot walls or ceiling sections, in preparation for entry into a room; identify incapacitated firefighters and victims for search and rescue operations; find hot spots and hidden smoldering during overhaul after initial suppression; and locate hazardous material spills. Contact Francine Amon at Francine.Amon@nist.gov.

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