Sydney’s Westpac Life Saver Rescue Helicopter Service has received a boost with the supply of an advanced thermal imaging camera from Thales Australia.
The camera, from the company’s Sophie range of world-leading thermal imagers, will be used to help rescue crews detect and identify people in need of assistance.
The camera works by identifying body heat and is effective day and night, in a wide range of conditions. It has a high sensitivity to small differences in temperature, meaning people can be detected even after being in cold water for some time.
Westpac Life Saver CEO Stephen Leahy said: “This generous donation will continue to grow our capacity as the only dedicated search and rescue helicopter in NSW. Nearly half of all our search and rescue missions are at night and this technology will allow us to search more quickly and effectively.”
Chris Jenkins, Thales Australia’s CEO, said the company was pleased to help out such a valuable community service. “The Westpac Life Saver Rescue Helicopter Service is an organisation dedicated to saving lives, and our thermal imaging technology will make their job easier, especially in challenging situations. This is especially useful as the service recently resumed 24/7 operations, and is on standby around the clock to help those in need.”
The Sophie thermal imager is being trialled free of charge for a period of six months under an arrangement that also includes training for helicopter crews.
Designed for long range surveillance, the camera has a range of three kilometres. An image stabilisation feature allows operators to more easily identify heat signatures, while an image storage facility enables the collection of photos from rescue missions.
More than 10,000 Sophie cameras are in operation in 50 countries, including with the Australian Defence Force.
About the Westpac Life Saver Rescue Helicopter Service
The Westpac Life Saver Rescue Helicopter Service is the longest serving search and rescue helicopter service in the world. Founded in 1973 by Surf Life Saving Australia, it has carried out more than 22,000 flights ranging from medical emergencies through to search and rescue missions. On average over 2,000 lives are saved every year.
For the past 38 years Westpac have been the major partner, making it the longest corporate community partnership in Australia. Westpac’s support contributes to providing a valuable and viable free service to the public – no one has ever had to pay to be rescued by the helicopter and the majority of crew members on all services are volunteers. http://www.lifesaver.org.au/
Thales is a global technology leader for the Defence & Security and the Aerospace & Transport markets. In 2011, the company generated revenues of â‚¬13 billion (equivalent of AUD 17.5 billion) with 67,000 employees in more than 50 countries. With its 22,500 engineers and researchers, Thales has a unique capability to design, develop and deploy equipment, systems and services that meet the most complex security requirements. Thales has an exceptional international footprint, with operations around the world working with customers as local partners.
Thales Australia is a trusted partner of the Australian Defence Force and is also present in commercial sectors ranging from air traffic management to security systems and services. Employing around 3,300 people in over 35 sites across the country, Thales Australia recorded revenues of more than AUD 962 million in 2011
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