Who Takes the TIC?

In this age of the fire service, most jurisdictions have at least one thermal imaging camera, if not several. Ideally, we would like to have one on every apparatus.  But, of course, budgets and priorities will dictate how many each department feels they can afford and need.

What was once a tool advertised mainly to find victims in building fires, we have found many more uses for this piece of equipment.  It can be used for hazardous materials responses to identify product that may be producing heat.  It can be used to help find a lost person in open space outdoors.  We can use it to check for extension after a small stove fire or for chasing down fire in concealed spaces.

For as many uses as we can name, and I by no means named them all, there are multiple ways that they are deployed.  My preference is for the officer to come off of the truck or engine with the TIC.  Everyone has their own method of operation, but to me the officer makes the most sense.

The officer should be behind the nozzleman and should watching changing conditions at all times.  While doing this, it is easy for him to scan the room or area with the TIC to watch for heat currents, changes in temperatures or victims unseen because of smoke.  These again are not the only things that the officer needs to be doing.

So, the question that I am posing is “Who takes the TIC and how do you deploy it?”  What are your guidelines and how do you operate with it?

In addition, how does it get carried? Do you prefer a strap? Do you carry it in your hand?  Give everyone some input and ideas about what does and has worked for you.

What are some other uses not mentioned and offer some training ideas for the folks here?  Just remember, this is a tool and should  not take the place of masterful search techniques and hard work.

Stay safe and train like you work, hard.


  • Rob odenwald says:

    I like that the CO carry the TI, and since they are getting so small many of our officers carry it off of a gear keeper. If the CO keeps it they can use it for initial size up by scanning the building upon exiting the apparatus. If possible I like the idea of the IC or Operations or safety officer to have one on the outside to observe for changing conditions. TI’s are a wonderful tool but they need to used often and practiced with to help better interpret what your seeing. TI’s can also help identify amount of a product in a container and flammable’s floating on water. TI’s will not see through water and can give false readings when reflected. Great tool, but you need to train with it.

  • Steve says:

    Sadly, I run with a department that has no written SOP’s, of any kind.

    We systematically bring it with us on water and ice rescue calls, it is very useful at night for locating victims in the water or on the ice.

  • tyler says:

    As a co I prefer to take the TIC myself. We have our T.I. rigged to a elastic style strap that connects to a non locking carabiner on our jacket. I find it works well because it keeps my hands free to carry a haligan. NEVER leave your rig without a tool. THE TIC is a only there to assist you never solely rely on it. And remember what you were tought in rookie school the baisics go along way.

  • Elvin Gonzalez says:

    On our department, are SOP requires the Company Officer to take the TIC with him. We are lucky enough to have one mounted on our the dash of all our apparatus’. We are just skimming the surface with this powerful tool. But I agree with the others, this tool needs continous training especially under live fire conditions. Don’t forget the basics, because they can and will fail. Stay safe!!!!!!

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