Impressed With Colorization? Don’t be! Here is why by Instructor Joey Baxa


Impressed by All the Cool Colors?

Don’t be fooled…

Not all palettes or application modes are intended for fire ground use. Some manufacturers include palettes that are used in the industrial setting to find and better highlight problems with temperature differences that are low compared to the differences in temperature found on the fire ground. 

For example this is what the User Manual for the Seek Reveal FirePRO states concerning the “Color” mode (commonly referred to as Rainbow): 

rainbow palette

“This is a demonstration mode and is best-suited for the classroom, which highlights areas of heat in red with colorful borders as the temperature decreases. While it’s seldom used in the field, this is a useful demo mode for third-party observers.”

In addition to this, many thermal imaging professionals view color palettes such as this one as “confusing.” 

Beware not all manufacturers give such warnings. In some cases it may even be difficult to find information regarding the proper application of the modes available on the camera. 

Just remember, what looks neat in the firehouse may not be so neat or easy to interpret when the amount of heat encountered greatly changes. It is always recommended that the mode named TI Basic, as outlined in NFPA 1801, is used on the fire ground. If the need is felt to try a different mode, please try it in the conditions which you are expecting it to perform. As temperatures vary and increase the usability of the mode will be impacted along with the discernible details within the image. Not all manufacturers follow NFPA 1801’s guidelines in regard to making colorization translucent. In other words, some of those “neat colors” may block out important details such as victims, holes in floors, and more.

Stay Intelligently Aggressive!