It has been said that within crisis there is opportunity. Given the current crisis created by the COVID-19 pandemic, this is especially true for thermographers and many of those involved with the manufacture of non-contact temperature measuring devices. Opportunity, however, should not be confused with opportunism.
One of the symptoms of COVID-19 is an elevated body temperature. In light of this, many companies have turned to body temperature measurement as a means of screening employees and visitors prior to granting them entry into their properties. Infrared devices are particularly well suited for body temperature measurements since they can provide temperature values quickly and without contact.
In mid-April of this year, the United States Food and Drug Administration issued guidance allowing industrial grade thermal imagers to be used as a screening tool for detecting elevated body temperatures provided that they met certain recommendations and that elevated temperatures detected were confirmed with a clinical grade thermometer.
It was the FDA's belief that the policy set forth in their guidance would help address public health concerns raised by shortages of temperature measurement systems during the current public health emergency. This policy has created a tremendous opportunity for trained thermographers to put their equipment and talents to good use either as professional body temperature screening technicians or as consultants to those initiating a body temperature screening program.
Unfortunately, the current pandemic has also seen its share of opportunists. Over the past several weeks there has been a marked increase in the number of companies that are now offering 'infrared technology' for body temperature screening. Many of the products do not conform to best practices nor are they suitable for human body temperature measurement.
Bayou State Inspections fully supports thermal imaging for body temperature screening provided that the proper equipment is selected and is operated by trained technicians in accordance with industry best practice. If you or your company are seeking to acquire infrared equipment for body temperature screening, we would invite you to call our office to schedule a net meeting or a meeting at your facility that will help you to understand the technology and how to select the proper equipment without marketing hype.
Properly applied, thermal imaging can help to ensure the health and safety of the public. It is an opportunity we cannot afford to miss.