Skip to main content
U.S. flag

An official website of the United States government

Official websites use .gov
A .gov website belongs to an official government organization in the United States.

Secure .gov websites use HTTPS
A lock ( ) or https:// means you’ve safely connected to the .gov website. Share sensitive information only on official, secure websites.

Meaningful Performance Evalution Conditions for Fire Service Thermal Imaging Cameras



Francine K. Amon, Anthony P. Hamins, Nelson P. Bryner, Justin Rowe


Thermal imaging cameras (TIC) are rapidly becoming integral equipment for the fire service for use in structure fires and other emergencies. The Building and Fire Research Laboratory (BFRL) at the National Institute of Standards and Technology has conducted research to establish test conditions that best represent the environment in which TIC are used. Firefighters may use TIC for field operations ranging from fire attack, search/rescue, hot spot detection, overhaul activities, to detecting the location of hazardous materials. To develop standardized TIC performance metrics and test methods that capture the harsh environment in which TIC may be used, information was collected from users, the literature, and from fire tests conducted at BFRL. A workshop was held to facilitate knowledge transfer from the fire service and TIC manufacturers. Full-scale and bench-scale experimental work focused on temperature extremes and the presence of obscuring media such as smoke, dust and water. Consolidation of fire environment data with fire fighting operations and imaging needs resulted in a set of performance metrics and test methods that relate to the conditions and tasks encountered by firefighters in structural fire fighting applications. This work is included in a new draft standard on fire service TIC.
Fire Safety Journal
No. 8


thermal imaging, cameras, performance evaluation, fire departments, fire fighters, first responders, test methods, fire fighting equipment, fire fighting, rescue, hazardous materials, fire tests, NFPA 1801, ASTM E 1543-00, standards, compartment fires, experiments, heat release rate, temperature, smoke density, FT-IR, classifications


Amon, F. , Hamins, A. , Bryner, N. and Rowe, J. (2008), Meaningful Performance Evalution Conditions for Fire Service Thermal Imaging Cameras, Fire Safety Journal, [online], (Accessed June 18, 2024)


If you have any questions about this publication or are having problems accessing it, please contact

Created November 1, 2008, Updated February 19, 2017