News Release News Release The City of Palo Alto
Communications Department
250 Hamilton Ave
Palo Alto, CA 94301


PRESS RELEASE 10/07/2008
Subject :

Palo Alto Fire Department Conducting Thermal Imaging Training
Contact : Barbara Cimino, Public Information Officer    650-617-3164
Palo Alto,  CA — Palo Alto Fire Department will be conducting training to better familiarize our personnel using the latest technology, Thermal Imaging Cameras (TIC).  On Thursday, October 9, at 2 pm there is an awareness opportunity for local media and City officials to observe and participate in this exercise. The exercises will take place in the vacant buildings at the Alma Plaza Shopping Center at 3400 Alma Street.
A thermal imaging camera is a tool to assist firefighters in locating fire victims, downed or trapped firefighters, hidden fires, patients who may have wandered from the scene of an auto accident, lost individuals, etc. A thermal imaging camera is able to pick up thermal heat , which is undetectable to the human eye, and is able to penetrate dense smoke and identify heat sources (human or otherwise) beyond a person's ability to see through the smoke.
Without a thermal imager, firefighters search burning buildings by crawling on their hands and knees and groping their way through blinding smoke to find unconscious victims. Recovery rates in these operations are low, since firefighters are forced to rely on physical contact alone to locate victims. Firefighters using thermal imagers can see the scene, which enables them to quickly navigate and identify victims. 

"Without a thermal imager, firefighters can spend critical minutes looking for a victim. With a thermal imager, the time can be cut in half or better," says Fire Chief Nick Marinaro.  

Police departments can also use these devices to search for fugitives.