By Mark van der Feyst
In the fire service, our equipment evolves along with technology. One such piece of equipment is the thermal imaging camera. This technology adapted from the military allows the firefighter to get a clearer image of the room, layout of a structure, and victim locations — all in zero-visibility environments. The TIC is usually the last piece of equipment that is grabbed by a firefighter or an officer.
It is not thought of as an essential piece of equipment, but it is. It should be the first thing grabbed. The officer should have the TIC when leading the crew, which will allow her to direct the crew's efforts in a more effective way. If there is no officer with the crew, then one firefighter should have it. Standard operating guidelines can require or suggest who will bring in the TIC. Having the TIC with you during interior operations will greatly enhance the overall safety of the crew and allow for a more expedient operation.