Addressing the challenges of thermal imaging for firefighting applications

Joseph Kostrzewa, William H. Meyer, George Poe, William A. Terre, Thomas M. Salapow, John Raimondi, Bjorn F. Andresen, Gabor F. Fulop
2003 Infrared Technology and Applications XXIX  
By providing visibility through smoke and absolute darkness, thermal imaging has the potential to radically improve the effectiveness and safety of the modern firefighter. Some of the roles of thermal imaging are assisting in detection of victims; navigating through dark, smoke-filled structures; detecting indications of imminent flash-over / roll-over; identifying and attacking the seat and extension of a fire; and surveying for lingering hot spots after a fire is nearly extinguished. In many
more » ... espects, thermal imaging is ideally suited for these functions. However, firefighting applications present the infrared community some unique and challenging design constraints, not the least of which is an operating environment that is in some ways more harsh than most aerospace applications. While many previous papers have described the benefits of thermal imaging for firefighters, this paper describes several specific engineering challenges of this application. These include large ambient temperature range, rapidly changing scene dynamics, extreme demands on AGC, and large dynamic range requirements. This paper describes these and other challenges in detail and explains how they were addressed and overcome in the design of Evolution 5000, a state-ofthe-art thermal imager designed and manufactured by Mine Safety Appliances (MSA) using Indigo System's Omega™ min iature uncooled camera core. * Assuming the same field-of-view and aperture size, the total signal power is identical whether the FPA format is mid or small. Since a small-format array has a quarter of the pixels , the signal per pixel is 4 times greater.
doi:10.1117/12.497535 fatcat:rewauyofqjb7ximmo35ruhkhqe