Mayday Monday: TIC and Search Operations

Mayday Monday on firefighter search with TIC
Mayday Monday on firefighter search with TIC

This month’s Mayday Monday is dedicated to the memory of two firefighters from the Kansas City (MO) Fire Department. On October 12, 2015, Firefighters Larry Leggio and John Mesh were killed by the collapse of a mixed-use building.  The arson fire also seriously injured two other firefighters.

Get the NIOSH LODD report on this incident here. There were several recommendations included in the report, but his month we will focus on this one:

Recommendation #14: Fire departments should ensure all operating engine, truck, and rescue companies have a thermal imager.

NIOSH Firefighter Fatality Report #F2015-15

This is one recommendation we can all get behind. A thermal imager is a great tool and a good example of technology that can make us better. The use of this technology will enhance and aid our search operation. As with any tool, there must be training and practice to understand its capabilities and limitations. 

At a recent training event, students participated in a session on primary search with a thermal imaging camera (TIC). The session did not include live fire so everything was the same temperature. To provide “energy” to the “victims,” instructors used hand/toe warmers taped to the mannequins. This simple technique helped to highlight the “victims” against the cool room. Reminder: When using this technique keep in mind that if this had been a real fire, the victim may not be the warmest object in the room. 


The Thermal Imaging Camera (TIC) and the Fire Service, Part I | Part II

First-Due Battalion Chief: Overhaul and the TIC

Collapse Zone Awareness

Collapse Zones, Voids, and Sector Discipline at Large Fires

This month, get some hand/toe warmers and practice searching for a “victim.”  Tape a warmer to a small mannequin or a couple to a larger “victim.” Hide the “victims” around a dark room like the bunkroom. Have members take turns using the camera to perform a primary search. 

The thermal imaging camera is a great addition to our tools. Like all of our equipment, it takes sets and reps to get good at using the TIC.

Go get some sets!  Please send some pictures of you and your team performing these reps! Send to Thanks and see you next month!

Tony Carroll is a battalion chief with the District of Columbia Fire & EMS Department.

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Mayday Monday: Firefighter Self-Rescue

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