#EVERYDAYHEROES: On patrol with a Park Ranger


There are some jobs where having FLIR thermal technology at your fingertips is not just something useful and fun, but can actually save lives. Being a park ranger is one of them. The job involves wearing a lot of hats, covering everything from law enforcement to search and rescue; from EMT (first aid responder), to firefighter and educator. On any given day, Ryan Jenkins, a 36-year-old park ranger in Tennessee could be called upon to carry out any one of those duties.

“The job never gets boring, that’s for sure,” he says.

Certainly there are some serious challenges he and his colleagues have to face.

“There are some situations in law enforcement and medical stuff that’s uncomfortable,” he tells us. “We deal with people who drown or die. Those kind of things are not pleasant parts of the job even though you’re helping people in those situations.”


But fortunately the upsides make up for it.

“I really love teaching people about the outdoors. I love that it’s part of our job, connecting people with nature. That’s really the reason I got into it. The other side is helping people that are in trouble, people who are hurt or lost.”

That’s where FLIR technology can prove extremely useful. Jenkins has been using the CAT® S60, mostly in training exercises, and needs no persuasion on its potential.

“When you’re trying to look into a car with high tint on the window and there’s someone in it – we’ve used it for that. Being in a campground at night. A lot of times it’s so dark, you can’t tell who you’re walking up on or how many people are at the site or what they’re doing. Using this camera is pretty helpful in that; you can hold it up and count the number of people pretty clearly.” 


He adds: “We’ve even done some search and rescue tests with the phone as well and been able to show somebody can go and hide, and pretty quickly we were able to find them using the thermal camera.” 

He adds that for any phone to be as rugged as the S60 is also pretty useful for rangers.

“We destroy the equipment that we have just because we’re out in the woods getting dirty, cutting trees, doing whatever else we’re doing outside.” 


Another area where thermal imaging is very beneficial is with wildfire fighting.

“When we’re fighting fires we waste days just searching for a fire,” he says. “Where’s this thing at? How big is it? Where do we need to send people out to? With a drone system with a FLIR all you have to do is get it up in the air and you can find out where the fire’s at real quick. The phone is a great way to show the usefulness of FLIR – as we’re seeing that FLIR is essential for what we do.”

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