Can Thermal Cameras Really Save Lives?
Infrared was first discovered in 1800 by Sir William Herschel as a form of ‘radiation beyond red light’. These radiations were generally used to monitor thermal measurement.
Jump forward to 1833 when Macedonio Melloni developed an instrument called ‘a multielement thermopile’ that could detect a person from 10 metres away, there’s strong evidence to suggest that he was way ahead of his time in terms of thermal imaging developments. Then fast forward another century and you’ll really start to evidence the massive technological advancements from people like Hungarian physicist, Kálmán Tihanyi, who invented the infrared sensitive – night vision – electronic television camera for use in anti-aircraft defense in Britain around 1929.
Thermographic cameras, or thermal imaging cameras as they’re also known, aren’t just for Covid-19, despite them only recently appearing on our radar (but are now flying off the shelves to save lives). To date, they’ve been used for military and aviation activities, to expose the presence of icebergs and steamships, for health and safety in high voltage power line inspections – and much more.
How do Thermal Imaging Cameras detect temperatures?
A special camera is used to detect body radiation in much the same way that a regular camera detects light. ‘Black body’ radiation, as it’s known, is transmitted as a standard function of a person’s temperature. The higher a person’s temperature, the greater the level of black body radiation is picked up. In terms of Thermal Imaging Cameras working to save lives, here’s just one example.
Thermal Imaging (or Temperature Screening Cameras) don’t actually need any light to work, neither natural nor artificial. They survive on radiation, allowing them to perform in total darkness, making them perfect for use in smoke-filled rooms or buildings that are on fire and with limited visability. We shouldn’t need to spell out where the life saving aspect is in this particular example.
If we look at Covid-19 and consider that these fever screening cameras can detect changes in skin temperature as accurately as within 0.01 degrees Celsius, it’s clear to see how detecting an elevated temperature, which may well be the cause of an underlying, highly contagious virus, can soon put a stop to any unwelcome contamination, as well as a second wave that we could all do without - but that is creeping on us with immaculate precision and exactly as predicted.
Planning your return to work
The images captured from the camera through infrared radiation are quickly turned into electronic images before being communicated to, for example, your own in-house monitoring software. So you can see just how easy it is for these counterparts to talk to one another – and to you. Smart algorithms can also be added that trigger things like an audible alarm or instant email notifications whenever temperatures exceed the normal body temperature, alerting you immediately – generally around one second – of any high fever detection.
So, in the workplace, and wherever you’ve positioned your CCTV Thermal Imaging system – which should generally be in and around reception or at your building entry/access points - you’ll start to understand how a simple snapshot of thermal radiation, that goes on to talk to accompanying software, can tell you whether or not you have a possible carrier on site.
The decision over what to do then lies in your hands. Although, and in the name of protecting your business, staff and customers, that should be an obvious call to make.
Can you meet the new Health and Safety demands?
Protect your people and you’ll have already ticked this box.
The UK government has made it abundantly clear that when it comes to Health and Safety in the workplace, the buck stops with you. So when you’re making plans to exit lockdown, please remember that. Keep at the forefront of your mind that your primary focus is keeping your people safe, no matter what the cost: a few extra pounds per day is far cheaper that a law suit for negligence.
The UK’s Prime Minister Boris Johnson announced a while back that a new set of ‘COVID-19 Secure’ guidelines will be issued for employers outlining how health and safety measures should be implemented. Similar guidelines will be introduced in Northern Ireland.
We must all do our bit to deny this ferocious pandemic a second stab at creating global chaos by taking preventative steps and mitigating risks, and as the R number is steadily rising, now is the time to take action.
Get in touch
If you would like to talk to us about how we can help, from as little as just £2 per day, call Belfast-based Standard Utilities on 0300 303 4577.
We’re experts in Thermal Imaging Cameras working throughout Northern Ireland and the ROI, as well as GB and the Isle of Man.
With our low cost leasing options and a choice of engineer installation or self installation ‘plug and play’ options, working together and putting people first, we can stop the spread and second wave of Covid-19.