NFPA®-Compliant Firefighting Cameras
Thermal imaging cameras (TIC) have found their way in the toolkits and trucks of firefighting teams around the world. With the several different types and brands of TICs on the market, it can be hard to decide which camera to purchase. To simplify that choice and to guarantee that TICs meet the minimum quality requirements which allow firefighters to do their jobs safely, the National Fire Protection Association® (NFPA) defined specific standards for "the design, performance, testing, and certification of new thermal imagers for the fire service."1 FLIR Systems specifically designed and developed the FLIR K65 to offer firefighters a dedicated TIC that has been rigorously tested by the Safety Equipment Institute (SEI) and certified to comply with the NFPA 1801-2013 standard.
SEI is a private, nonprofit organization that helps safety equipment manufacturers meet their goal of protecting workers and consumers by ensuring products are state-of-the-art and maintain recognized standards. The organization publishes certifications on its website, so users can verify the FLIR K65 certification by visiting www.seinet.org and searching for FLIR Systems.
Who is NFPA®?
NFPA is an international organization that works to improve quality of life by promoting fire prevention and public safety efforts through education, research, safety training, and the development of safety equipment standards. The NFPA states it "develops, publishes, and disseminates more than 300 consensus codes and standards intended to minimize the possibility and effects of fire and other risks."2
For the NFPA 1801-2013 standard, the organization outlined requirements specifically targeting new thermal imagers used by fire service personnel during emergency operations. To obtain certification, new products must meet design specifications, manufacturing conditions, performance levels, and testing requirements.
Current Standards for Thermal Imaging Cameras
The NFPA 1801-2103 standard focuses on three main areas: interoperability/usability, image quality, and durability.
TICs from different types or brands should offer the same functions and work similarly to allow firefighters to use them with minimal training. The intent is by offering uniformity through similar user interfaces and camera operations, firefighters will have an easier time with training and adopt the use of thermal imaging faster. Among other things, this means TICs should have a green power button and a basic image mode that merely displays a grayscale image with a temperature bar, digital temperature readout and heat-indicating color with a color reference scale. Another requirement is that a TIC should be easy to operate with a gloved hand.
It is crucial that thermal imagers provide high quality images so firefighters can quickly visualize a plan of attack, locate hot spots, or even to save lives. NFPA 1801-2013 imaging performance tests pay attention to field of view, contrast, spatial resolution and sensitivity. Another important criterion is image recognition, which means that firefighters should easily recognize things on the thermal image and that the quality of the image is high enough for use on the fire ground.
Fire scenes are tough environments, so every TIC needs to be rugged enough to operate during fire ground duty without failure. The NFPA requires TIC durability tests to ensure cameras are heat and flame resistant, are sealed against water ingress, can withstand vibration and impact, and won’t corrode.
Since fire fighters may also operate TICs in potentially explosive environments, TICs must also meet Nonincendive Electrical Equipment directives set forth by the American National Standards Institute (ANSI) and the International Society of Automation (ISA) for gases, liquids, and vapors that could accidentally exist in explosive concentrations (Class I, Div II).
Durability Test (Tumble Test)
Impact Acceleration Resistance Test (Drop Test)
Heat and Flame Test
FLIR K65: NFPA®-Compliant Firefighting Camera
The FLIR K65 is an NFPA®-compliant TIC that allows firefighters to see more clearly in the darkest, smokiest environments, maneuver more strategically, stay better oriented, and find victims faster.
Easy-to-use, even with gloves on
The FLIR K65 has an intuitive and simple user interface controlled by three large buttons right below the screen – ideal for a gloved firefighter's hand.
A thermal imaging camera should be easy to operate with a gloved hand.
Clear and Crisp Thermal Images
The FLIR K65 has a maintenance-free uncooled microbolometer sensor which produces crisp, 320 x 240 pixel images and displays them on a bright 4" LCD. Users can also activate FLIR proprietary FSX™ Flexible Scene Enhancement technology to enhance thermal images through real-time digital processing inside the camera. The result is an ultra-sharp image that shows extraordinary structural, edge, and other instantly-recognizable detail. This helps firefighters and rescue teams to find their way through the smokiest, darkest environments, and to instantly identify targets in scenes with extreme temperature dynamics.
Left: Without FSX™; Right With FSX™
Left: Without FSX™; Right With FSX™
Rugged & Reliable
The K65 is designed to meet tough operating conditions. It withstands a drop from 2 meters onto a concrete floor, is water resistant (IP67), and fully operational for up to 5 minutes at temperatures as high as 260°C/500°F.
Firefighters sometimes operate in potentially explosive environments, such as oil platforms, petrochemical or power generation industries. That is why the FLIR K65 is also certified per ANSI/ISA 12.12.01-2013 standards, which means it's suitable for use in hazardous, potentially explosive conditions. To meet these standards, the USB port and battery compartments are well sealed to restrict ingress of gases, liquids, or vapors; the battery and USB port also require a tool to open so they can’t be accessed during normal operations.
Fully Sealed Connectors
Battery Locks Inside the Camera with Screw
1"NFPA® 1801: Standard on Thermal Imagers for the Fire Service." NFPA, 2013. Web. 03 Mar. 2017.
2NFPA.eu home page statement. NFPA, 2016. Web (www.nfpa.eu). 03 Mar. 2017.
National Fire Protection Association and NFPA are registered trademarks of the National Fire Protection Association. The NFPA does not test, certify or approve any products.