Thermal Imaging Cameras

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A thermal imaging camera (colloquially known as a TIC) is a type of the thermographic camera used in firefighting. By rendering infrared radiation as visible light, such cameras allow firefighters to see areas of heat through smoke, darkness, or heat-permeable barriers. Thermal imaging cameras are typically handheld, but may be helmet-mounted. They are constructed using heat- and water-resistant housings, and ruggedized to withstand the hazards of fireground operations. [1]


Thermal Imaging Cameras (TICs) are used for a number of operations:

  • Finding heat within walls and structures
  • Finding hot spots on wild fire during mop up
  • Performing an oriented search within a fire
  • Structure fire overhaul
  • Finding people trapped in a fire, in a building, and outdoors


The biggest limitation of a TIC is that they are not able to look through glass such as windows. The room behind a window may be very hot and in the TIC it may appear as cold or just warm. You cannot search a room for a missing person through an intact window. Additionally, glass and mirrors may show heat that is actually a reflection from elsewhere.

MEFD uses two types of TICs

TICs integrated into our MSA G1 SCBA. Each engine has three airpacks with a TIC. See SCBA

Handheld Argus Mi-TIC-S Thermal Imaging Camera devices on engines and brush trucks.