First Responder Lighting Equipment|
Emergency situations like traffic accidents, crime, natural disasters and other incidents can arise at any time of the day or night. Most emergency personnel find themselves more often than not called to respond to situations that present special challenges because of low light levels. Usually these low light levels are a natural result of responding during evening hours, but they can also result from the need to perform within buildings where electrical power is not present or artificial lighting is insufficient. As a result, responders must be prepared for all eventualities by carrying equipment that allows them to overcome the problems associated with low light levels.
First responders have a wide variety of equipment available to them to help overcome problems with low light situations. Everything from portable IR imaging equipment to simple flashlights offer the first responder various methods for improving his or hers ability to operate in low or no light situations. This type of equipment is in fact critical and very often can mean the difference between a successful call and a failure to perform well enough to save a life or apprehend a fugitive. Equipment used for low light emergency situations must fulfill several requirements if it is to be effective, and the type of situation will often determine the type of equipment necessary.
Although there are several types of equipment available like Night-vision or IR imagers for dealing with low light conditions, it is usually more preferable to simply have a way to produce ample artificial illumination on demand. To this end, portable lighting equipment is the most often utilized equipment and several different types will usually be carried in a first responder’s inventory. Flashlights, spotlights, portable light towers, vehicle mounted spotlights and more make up the wide array of lighting equipment that provides responders with the ability to illuminate an emergency scene quickly and effectively no matter the location or conditions.
Whether the responder is in Law Enforcement or Medical Services, the most common type of lighting first used when responding to a call usually takes the form of professional grade flashlights. These flashlights are usually much more powerful and effective than your everyday household flashlight. Common traits associated with professional grade flashlights include rechargeable batteries, high lumen output, extreme durability and weather resistance, long charge life, and moderate size and weight. These flashlights are normally a responder’s first and most convenient source of illumination when responding in low light conditions and enable them to navigate and assess a scene quickly and efficiently. They prove particularly effective in highly mobile situations and locations that offer little access for vehicles and must be covered on foot. Although these flashlights are effective, they are not capable of acting as full scene lighting and so additional equipment is necessary.
The next most commonly utilized form of emergency scene lighting is the vehicle mounted spot or floodlight. Vehicle mounted lights are highly effective and used by almost every form of emergency services, from Fire and Rescue to Law Enforcement. These lights are typically mounted to the sides or tops of vehicles and can provide widespread illumination of scenes whether they are in close proximity to the responders vehicle or well removed and not easily accessible. Vehicle mounted lights typically utilize very powerful luminaries such as HID lamps or less powerful Halogen lamps and are capable of either throwing an intense beam of light for extreme distances, sometimes over 500 feet, or casting a wide flood beam to illuminate a large area.
The best vehicle mounted lights are available in a floodlight or spotlight beam pattern and produce in excess of 2,000 lumens. They are typically weatherproof and allow a wide range of motion in order to direct the light wherever it may be needed. The more powerful HID lamps are of particular effectiveness for Law Enforcement and Medical services because of the quality of the light they produce. HID lamps produce an intense white light that closely mimics the natural spectrum of light produced by the sun. This natural light spectrum renders colors much more accurately than Halogen lamps as well as produces clearer outlines and detail in illuminated objects and locations. For the police officer who is performing searches or the paramedic who is rendering aid, the ability to clearly view subjects as accurately as possible is critical and HID lamps supply some of the best lighting options possible.
Larson Electronics’s Remote Control Spotlight / Flood Light with Wireless Remote Control is an example of vehicle mounted lighting that offers these characteristics as well as a few additional options that emergency responders find extremely useful. While the beam from a light like this is very powerful at over 4,000 lumens and capable of reaching 4,000 feet in length, this power is enhanced by a remote control capability. Since conditions and operations can change from one location within a scene to another, the ability to control the application of scene lighting remotely is a valuable addition. Responders can remotely direct the light from their vehicle from 100 feet away, removing any need to leave a location to reposition lighting or perform in less than optimal lighting conditions.
The third most common emergency scene lighting is usually made up of portable light towers and dedicated generator systems. These units vary greatly in their size and construction, with some units as small as a briefcase and highly portable, to others that must be towed behind a vehicle to a location. With the exception of the smallest portable units, these are usually employed in situations that will require a prolonged emergency personnel presence and are reserved for large scale operations such as those found in natural disaster scenes and large scale industrial accidents. The smaller units are very useful in smaller scale scenes such as traffic accidents although their necessity is somewhat diminished by the other aforementioned lighting tools. The larger units are well suited to larger long term scenes and can be operated for greatly extended periods. They generally have dedicated generators allowing them to be operated independently of any external power source. The lamps typically consist of several high wattage Metal Halide luminaries mounted on telescoping arms and are capable of producing intense light which can cover areas measured in acres.
Whatever the situation, lighting plays a pivotal role in the ability of first responders to perform their jobs quickly and effectively. Carrying a full complement of equipment is critical to ensuring a well prepared readiness for any situation. Equally important is choosing the equipment that is best suited to an application. Whatever the needs however, modern lighting technology makes it possible for responders to perform their best regardless of location or conditions.