To say the coronavirus outbreak has rendered a considerable strain on international resources is a mammoth understatement. In response, there has been a dash to adapt or develop existing technologies with a view to stemming the spread of the pandemic. With the substantial rise in sales of thermal CCTV cameras, it is clear to see that thermal heat detection is one of those technologies that has been catapulted into the spotlight.

What is thermal CCTV?

Thermal cameras with high temperature accuracy are able to help reveal elevated body temperature. Such elevation in temperature may indicate the presence of a fever, which is one of the known symptoms of the COVID-19 virus.

Fever scanning technology is useful in any indoor location where social distancing may be challenging, and where it is important to be able to identify potential carriers of coronavirus. Heat detection cameras are already being widely used in a number of locations, including:

  • Airports and ferry ports
  • Rail stations
  • Hospitals
  • Care homes
  • Shops
  • Supermarkets
  • Offices
  • Factories
  • Warehouses
  • Public buildings
  • Places of interest
  • Leisure facilities
  • Educational establishments

How does thermal imaging work?

Thermal imaging camerasThermal imaging cameras can detect a person’s skin-surface temperature in just one second, making it possible to screen very large numbers at a time as people move through a space. Also, because they feature contactless temperature measurement, the cameras are compliant with social distancing guidelines.

Fever screening cameras can be set up to record live thermal imaging footage for evidential use should this be required. They are in principle simple to operate and various options are available to suit specific location types and requirements. From handheld models that display on-screen results, through to smart systems consisting of remote cameras connected to a mobile app, right up to hard-wired fixed cameras linked to an operator station, the choice is extensive.

Some of the more sophisticated options feature artificial intelligence (AI). This cleverly fixes the temperature measuring to human bodies only, so reducing the rate of false alarms due to other heat sources. Other temperature screening cameras incorporate built-in audio alarms, alerting the operator when someone with a fever has passed by the camera.

Can thermal imaging cameras be relied on for fever detection?

Thermal imaging only measures skin temperature rather than internal temperature. What’s more, COVID-19 has quite a long incubation period, during which not all sufferers will experience a fever.

World Health Organization (WHO) experts are keen to emphasise that whilst thermal CCTV cameras are indeed helpful for screening, they should not be relied upon for diagnosis. In other words, heat detector cameras cannot detect coronavirus or a fever. They are not medical devices; however they are useful for preliminary screening which can offer reassurance and confidence for anyone entering fever-scanned premises.

The WHO states that “Temperature screening alone may not be very effective as it may miss travellers incubating the disease or travellers concealing fever during travel, or it may yield false positives (fever of a different cause)”. The WHO also recommends combining temperature screening with a questionnaire, data collection and analysis and clear health messaging.

Will thermal imaging cameras replace CCTV?

Thermal imaging cameras are set to become the ‘new normal’ in a host of settings and may potentially become as common as closed circuit television, but they definitely won’t replace traditional CCTV.

CCTV is a powerful security solution that not only provides vital evidence in the event of a crime, but also offers exceptional deterrent properties. And it’s not just for crime prevention; CCTV provides a whole host of lesser-known benefits, including surveys and analysis, health and safety monitoring, staff training, production control, protection against fraudulent claims, and so much more.

Expert Advice on Thermal CCTV London Facilities Managers can Depend on

At Barry Bros Security we have been providing specialist advice on security London wide for several decades. Our experts are ready and waiting here at our London security showroom or at the other end of the telephone to provide you with all the advice you need on temperature screening and thermal imaging cameras.

We look forward to helping you discover the benefits of these helpful devices that could be considered a powerful weapon in the fight against coronavirus.