Contemporary world experiences plenty of challenges in the sphere of security
The reality is such that old traditional safety and security measures are not capable of coping with the growing threats of terrorist attacks, crimes, natural disasters, etc. Now is the time when novel sophisticated tools appear to solve the problem of ever-growing need for eliminating danger. One of the challenges of potentially dangerous situations might be solved by a tool, which enables people to see in the darkness – systems of infrared surveillance. This essay focuses on infrared surveillance and spheres of its application in the modern world, ranging from military to fire control.
Infrared security cameras “have the special ability to render video in low-light conditions and in total darkness”, thus making it possible to disclose what is happening in places where and at the time when human eyes cannot serve reliably (Security Camera Warehouse). Security PRO USA, one of online security centers, states that with the help of infrared surveillance systems people obtain a possibility to get the necessary picture even under the most severe atmospheric or environmental conditions (Security PRO USA).
“Infrared cameras were originally developed for the military use during the Korean War to further enhance night vision capabilities” (Sierra Pacific Corp., 2012). Later on, this technology transferred to various spheres. Now infrared surveillance is widely used in numerous fields, such as military, law enforcement, maintaining perimeter integrity, mobile surveillance, marine surveillance, search and rescue, fire control, facilities safety and security, event or crowd management, etc. (Infrared Cameras Inc., 2012).
Infrared surveillance has found its widest application in the military: night seeing, weapon sighting, remote sensing and force protection are just several examples of how infrared surveillance can be used in the military and paramilitary spheres (Sierra Pacific Corp., 2012). Infrared thermal imaging has become “an important, cost-efficient solution for a wide variety of military missions such as surveillance, search & rescue, force protection, drug interdiction, perimeter integrity maintenance and etc.” (Security PRO USA).
Border security is one of the vital tasks for any state today
This unique challenge combines vast unpopulated territories with long distances and various climate and weather conditions. Carl Zeiss Optronics GmbH, one of the leading providers of optical and opto-electronic products and services for defense and security, indicates that “monitoring and protecting larger areas presents security institutions with considerable problems, particularly at night and when poor visual conditions exist” (Carl Zeiss Optronics GmbH). Infrared surveillance systems are an excellent opportunity to control a situation, as their cameras can be networked and provide high-quality imaging under any conditions (IEC Infrared Systems, 2008).
Similarly, maintaining perimeter integrity at such facilities as refineries, nuclear power plants, ports, airports and other critical infrastructure also requires an overall control of the territory. Infrared surveillance enables to “augment and sometimes completely replace conventional mobile patrols at night - in total darkness” states Infrared Cameras Inc., one of the leaders in security systems manufacture (Infrared Cameras Inc., 2012).
Mobile infrared systems enable the modern military to deal successfully with improvised explosive devices, which “have become the weapon of choice for terrorists and insurgents” (IEC Infrared Systems, 2008).
Another task that infrared cameras help to fulfill is search and rescue of lost survivors (Infrared Cameras Inc., 2012). Search in the darkness used to be impossible and all attempts stopped at night. Now many lives are saved owing to this modern technology.
One more challenging task for infrared surveillance is fire control and management
Firefighting and firefighting management requires rapid information receipt. When a territory is covered in smoke, it becomes crucial to get a reliable picture as soon as possible to be able to save lives and prevent further spread of fire. Infrared cameras are the tool “to gain this valuable real-time tactical information, which is invaluable in the decision making process” (Infrared Cameras Inc., 2012).
Many facilities have open-door displays of their products, such as automobiles or simply large areas, which should be protected from penetration. Moreover, they usually have large parking lots, warehouses or long and dark walkways, where it is almost impossible to ensure full and continuous lighting. On the one hand, using infrared surveillance helps save on electricity by eliminating unnecessary lighting over product displays and empty areas. On the other hand, it decreases the risks for employees when they are in poorly lit areas (Infrared Cameras Inc., 2012).
Infrared surveillance can benefit law enforcement agencies in general, as it them with an opportunity to see what is not meant to be seen, as most crimes are committed in darkness. In this case infrared surveillance can either help witness a crime and stop it timely, or prevent it by spreading the information in the area that is being watched.
There is one more sphere where infrared surveillance may play an important role, which is marine control. Waterfront security is a real challenge as people and equipment have to work in the most severe conditions and there are various threats to detect – from swimmers to vessels, submarines and underwater mines.
To sum up, infrared surveillance systems can help protect borders, military camps, troops, private and business property, detect explosives and drugs; search for the lost and save lives in fire. Nevertheless, infrared surveillance can not only fulfill security tasks, but also scientific queries, energy audits, etc. as it provides a wide range of applications with the possibility of receiving unique information, which cannot be obtained by other means either due to technology or conditions.