It’s time for schools, businesses and commercial premises to start preparing for life after lockdown.
The likely solution? Thermal cameras.
As the drawbridge of lockdown is slowly lowered and we reintegrate into society, we all need to realise that the insidious nature of the virus isn’t going anywhere just yet.
So, business owners and managers are now having to implement a game plan to ensure they are mitigating the risk and managing the rate of infection, whilst ensuring that new protocols will not inhibit their day-to-day activities or put them out of pocket.
Depending on your environment, such as the kind of footfall you have and the nature of your work, your game plan won’t be the same as everyone else’s. There’ll be commonalities, namely what the Government stipulates we all should be doing, but it’s going to be a challenging time for many to decide what’s right, what’s feasible and what’s affordable for their individual business and commercial premises.
Something many are now turning to as part of their plan to mitigate the risk of spreading Coronavirus (COVID-19) is using thermal cameras, or thermal measurement technology, to capture temperatures of people as they enter a building.
Recently, Amazon reported that they are implementing daily temperature checks “as an additional preventative measure to support the health and safety of employees”, whilst also enabling a “streamlined experience” in tackling likely outbreaks (BBC News).
The faster the person is identified as being symptomatic, the faster they can be tested and treated if positive, and the slower the rate of infection within your building.
How Do Thermal Cameras Work?
Thermal cameras have been used for some time. For instance, you might have seen them used in airports, factories, concerts and public buildings to detect Elevated Body Temperature (EBT). The police use thermal cameras, too.
It’s now that they’re really coming into their own as a useful tool for temperature detection since one of the fundamental symptoms of Coronavirus has been found to be a high temperature.
Where, before, we’d usually see them in areas of high footfall, now small companies and offices are also turning to the solution to enable the smooth reintroduction of everyday operations whilst staying in control of the spread of infection.
The cameras use infra-red (IR) to read an object’s temperature. Every object with a temperature above absolute zero emits a certain amount of radiation (IR), so the higher the temperature, the higher the level of radiation will be. (A normal human’s temperature will usually vary anywhere between 36.5-37.5°C or 97.7–99.5 °F; anything above is seen as a fever.)
So, the cameras are specially designed to read this radiation using an algorithm and then display corresponding images with coloured heat zones and temperature scales. If a pre-set temperature is exceeded, then this raises an alarm so the individual may be referred for a further medical examination and follow the protocols you will have in place upon identifying a symptomatic individual in your building.
Here’s an animated demonstration of how thermal cameras work (using the example of a tripod thermal camera at the entrance of a building):
How Could Thermal Cameras Help Me?
Leading global provider of security equipment, ADI, says thermal cameras are “the accurate real-time solution to keeping people and your environment safe”.
Here are the notable advantages of using thermal cameras in your school, office or commercial building:
- Fast – takes less than a second to screen
- Easy to Use – Very little set-up required to get you up and going
- Flexible – Easy to deploy anywhere you need it (most common in entrances)
- Protects Public Health – Demonstrates that you are actively taking precautions
- Convenient and Non-Disruptive – Causes minimal disruption to your building
- AI Detection – there’s less chance of false alarms from detecting other heat sources
- Test One or Many at Once – a choice of cameras can test one or multiple people at once
- Highly Accurate – Accuracy in standard cameras is ±0.5°C but can be calibrated to ±0.3°C
- Contactless – Measurements can be taken up to 3m away so it won’t impact social distancing
- Quantitative Tool to Stay in Control – You can opt to record and keep the data it measures
What Else Can This Technology Do?
There are also cameras on the market which can detect whether a person is wearing a face mask, and they can also be used for density control to count people in and out – particularly handy if you’re limiting the number of people within your building.
Thermal cameras can even be incorporated within a metal detection archway, like you would see in an airport, or within an access control/facial recognition system.
There’s a lot that this technology can be used for, even more so during the Coronavirus pandemic. If you’re not sure which solution is right for you, we’ll help you decide and provide you with a plan of action that’ll keep business running and people moving as safely as possible.
Who Is Using Thermal Cameras?
Thermal cameras are ideally aimed for public places and areas encountering high footfall, but even much smaller companies and premises are now using this technology to keep tabs on who may be symptomatic and entering their building.
Cardiff’s Principality Stadium, for instance, has been transformed into Dragon’s Heart field hospital, with more than 2,000 beds to facilitate the NHS during the Coronavirus pandemic. This was one of the first to introduce a thermal imaging-based skin surface temperature screening system to provide rapid, contactless detection of anyone displaying a high temperature as they enter the area.
Care homes are also turning to this technology as an active precautionary measure to monitor both staff and visitors, such as Zest Care Homes, who have implemented the use of thermal cameras in their homes in Birmingham and Northern Ireland. No one who exceeds the maximum pre-set temperature on the camera is permitted to enter the care home.
Thermal cameras are now being widely implemented in commercial premises such as: schools, hospitals, airports, commuter stations (such as train and bus stations), offices, warehouses, factories and retail stores.
Can Thermal Temperature Measurement Cameras Detect Coronavirus?
Quite simply, no. These cameras identify those who have an Elevated Body Temperature (EBT) by raising an alarm, prompting you to take action so the individual may then be tested with virus diagnostic tests and/or quarantined.
For the foreseeable future, a fever due to a simple cold will need to be taken far more seriously than it was before as chances cannot be taken. Right now, the NHS are treating every individual who enters hospitals are being COVID-positive, regardless of whether they are symptomatic or tested. These cameras, therefore, give you the control to know who is displaying a high temperature – a primary symptom of the virus – but not whether they are actually positive for the virus.
Here’s a video demonstration of how these cameras work from Hikvision (manufacturer and supplier of video surveillance equipment):
There are also other makes and models of thermal cameras, such as this one from Dahua.
How Much Are Thermal Cameras?
This largely depends on the equipment used, how many cameras, whether you calibrate these for further accuracy, and so on. As well as installing your equipment and training you how to use it, we also incorporate a maintenance package to ensure you are covered for support should you ever need help or encounter technical difficulties.
Are Thermal Cameras the Right Solution for Me?
This entirely depends on the make-up of your environment, footfall, and other factors such as your budget and whether your staff can continue to work from home without impacting your business or if attendance is crucial.
Contact us today and we’ll discuss the best option for you and your premises as we move forward in the next phase of fighting the Coronavirus pandemic.
You can call us on 01277 724 653 or email firstname.lastname@example.org.
Throughout lockdown and as we face whatever comes next, we are here for you.
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Post by Verity Stone
Hi, I’m Verity! WFP’s Head of Communications. As well as ensuring our customers are happy with their service, I’m a huge fan of spreading the word about fire safety and security to help keep businesses safe and legal.More posts by Verity Stone