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Draeger's UCF range of thermal imaging cameras saves valuable time for firefighters

image from a Draeger UCF thermal imaging camera
Draeger's UCF cameras can pinpoint the exact locatino of any thermal areas

Firefighters no longer have to conduct a risk assessment before taking a thermal imaging camera into a potentially explosive environment.

As part of its ongoing commitment to improving fire fighter safety and operational performance, Draeger Safety has developed the UCF range of thermal imaging cameras. For the first time, firefighters no longer have to conduct a risk assessment before taking a thermal imaging camera into a potentially explosive environment because the range includes models which are intrinsically safe and have ATEX Approval applied for. Ensuring that entry protocols can be followed with single-handed operation, the cameras also provide “the complete picture” by combining traditional firefighting and normal view modes. Saving valuable time and enabling firefighters to enter the incident without delay, the camera is safe to use in any environment without risk of explosion. In line with entry protocol, one hand is left free for users to feel their way, steady or protect themselves or help casualties, whilst the other hand operates the lightweight camera, single-handedly via touch button controls.

Being able to see the “whole picture” is essential for accurate, fast decision making. When entering incident, firefighters need to determine the source of heat and the location of people, especially casualties, as quickly as possible. The broad thermal operating range of the UCF cameras allows the traditional modes of “firefighting” and “normal” to be viewed simultaneously, enabling the user to see both the fire source and other people in a single clear image.

Hot spots, which can be a danger after dowsing, need to be avoided or dealt with effectively. Often invisible to the naked eye, they can now be identified easily with the integrated laser pointer which pinpoints the exact location of any thermal areas.

The data transmission option uses both video and sound to send images back to the command team

In addition, when entering a new area such as a doorway, hatch, window, confined space or even turning a corner, the user can select a freeze frame facility to view hidden dangers. Providing a clear snapshot of the immediate vicinity, this allows the firefighter to observe the space, decide a plan of action and, if necessary, consult and share the image with colleagues before entering the danger zone. Should firefighters need more information or advice on a particular situation or risk they can choose the data transmission option which uses both video and sound to send images back to the command team. These images can also be recorded for immediate or post event playback for training and evaluation purposes.

Quick identification of a hazard or individual is vital when scanning an area but it is equally important that nothing is overlooked. The enhanced shutter speed of the UCF cameras provides sharp, clear images of the incident during initial evaluation. Equally, it is imperative that any thermal changes are identified easily, regardless of the lighting conditions. When moving between rooms and buildings or even into bright daylight, the integral ambient light sensor on the Draeger UCF range automatically adjusts the screen so that the image remains clearly visible.

Efficient use of battery life can maximise camera readiness throughout the incident, particularly during long periods of operation. Providing more safety to the firefighter as a result of longer visual support, the auto standby function conserves the 4-hour battery life when the camera is not being operated.

As with many incidents confined space entry can be difficult, particularly when crawling and carrying a thermal imaging camera. An integral crawl handle ensures that firefighters can move more freely and allows the operator to use the UCF camera effectively.

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