Using thermal cameras to fight fires

Using thermal cameras to fight fires

For several decades thermal cameras have been an indispensable help for fire fighters worldwide. The LWIR thermal camera does not record visible radiation but long-wave infrared radiation that penetrates smoke much better. It can search for the centre of a fire, as well people lost in the smoke or fog. A thermal camera together with a light and easy to control drone can be a very useful tool for rescuing people.

Using thermal cameras on a drone during rescue work

A thermal camera and a drone combined gives rescuers and fire fighters several major advantages – the ability to see through smoke, to see at night and, at the same time, to observe and investigate large areas from a safe distance.


large fire thermal cameras on drones can be used to check whether there are people or animals in the locality of the fire; even if it is night or in the fog.

A drone can be used very quickly during rescue operations. The whole drone with the thermal camera and accessories can be transported in a large passenger car without modifying the interior. After arrival the drone can be operating within a few minutes.

Why choose Workswell WIRIS system

Workswell’s WIRIS is the most advanced thermal imaging system for drones with many functions and settings that are essential during rescue actions. These functions can save lives. Some of the selected features of the Workswell WIRIS that may be essential include:

The calibration of the thermal camera gives high thermal homogeneity of the image. This is very important because it makes sure the people searched for are found. Dense smoke decreases ambient infrared radiation temperature differences in the image. This makes detecting people much more reliable because lower temperature differences make it easier to distinguish people.

The manual temperature range function ensures correct and constant setting of temperature sensitivity. Rescuers and fire fighters know they need this function in practice. If the temperature range is automatic, the upper (and of course also the lower) temperature limits are set by the thermal camera automatically according to the highest (and lowest) temperature that it can see. If the centre of a fire is near the camera it will re-adjust to its high temperature. In this case, objects with a lower temperature (e.g. the person being searched for) will be difficult to see. The probability rapidly increases that the searched for person will be overlooked.

The possibility of using GPS helps when searching for people if the rescue is over a large area. Video recording allows documentation to be produced of the whole event. The built-in camera allows traditional images to be seen without switching images.

Workswell’s WIRIS can be fully configured during flight, thermal pallet, temperature range, temperature alarm, etc., everything can be changed without landing. This significantly speeds up the rescue.



Because living creatures can be identified by temperature differences, thermal cameras on a drone can be very effective when searching for lost, threatened or injured people, as well as during other rescues at night or in fog.

A drone with a thermal camera can be used to check, from a safe distance, medium-sized areas where lost or injured persons may be. Moreover, the WIRIS LWIR thermal camera also sees through dense smoke so people in the locality of a fire where there is smoke can also be located.