North Shore Rescue has a new life-saving tool that can detect the body heat of lost hikers and skiers.
Earlier this year, Port Metro Vancouver offered the volunteer-based rescue organization a SeaFlir II-C stabilized system – a forward looking infrared radiometer (FLIR). The camera has been mounted on a helicopter owned by Talon Helicopters for the use of locating missing individuals in difficult terrain or in locations where a direct line of sight is obscured by a dense tree canopy.
“The North Shore Rescue team assists the police, fire and ambulance service with mountain search and rescue, helicopter rescue and urban search and rescue,” said Jim Loree, North Shore Rescue, in a statement. “North Shore Rescue members are frequently called out to look for lost or missing subjects that are located in challenging mountainous terrain.”
“The heat locating abilities of the FLIR camera will give the search crews an added advantage of being able to locate a subject without relying exclusively on the human eye.”
Training and test flights were undertaken over the last few weeks, concluding just before Christmas. The camera will be operational in January 2016 and other local search and rescue teams will also have access to using the equipment.
Port Metro Vancouver originally acquired the equipment as a tool for keeping port facilities secure. Some patrol boats have already been outfitted with a similar infrared camera technology.