It’s nearly 9PM, four hours into your shift. The weather forecast was right on the money. Visibility is next to non-existent tonight. The fog’s thick and it really looks like the heavens are going to open up any time now. This is the worst night possible for anything to go wrong.
As you enjoy your third cup of piping hot coffee, for home inspection your radio begins to crackle to life and you’re told that there’s a little kid lost somewhere in Bear Creek Canyon. He’s been gone almost two hours. Apparently he wandered off when his parents weren’t watching. You exhale in annoyance.
“Great. Just great. It would be hard to find a mammoth in these conditions. How on earth will we spot a little kid?” your partner complains.
You grunt in agreement, but there’s nothing you can do now but get busy finding that kid, besides you have an idea! You call in requesting two search and rescue teams to be deployed to the canyon immediately and then head off to the State Police office to borrow their new Rapid Deployment Portable FLIR Thermal Imaging System that you’d heard about. This is about the only way you’ll be able to spot anything in this mess. “At least in this weather the predators won’t be out hunting.” You toss the borrowed gear into your 4X4 and speed away.
After a nearly 50 mile round trip, you arrive at the canyon. A quick recon indicates the best vantage point would be to take to the old forest trail up the ridge. So you head up, park at the best available spot and get to work overseeing the search.
You’ve never used an infrared thermal imaging camera system before, but it’s a breeze to set up. Within a few moments, you’ve managed to quickly attach the magnetically mounted, pan-tilt thermal imaging camera atop your truck. Next, you open up the control unit case, plug in the camera, plug in to the truck’s accessory outlet and power it up. That was pretty easy.
Scanning with the little joystick, you begin your search of the canyon. The weather forecast has lived up to expectations. Visibility is at an all-time low. Thankfully, the infrared thermal imaging camera makes everything seem a lot less miserable especially since you’re warm and dry inside the SUV. With the camera, you’re able to see right through the weather and view everything through the darkness. “Oh, the wonders of technology.”
As you scan the canyon, you spot your search teams glowing on the display screen. Even with their dogs, they’re not finding him and seem completely lost. It’s all up to you now. The canyon’s pretty large and your nerves are really on edge. You’re thinking “Too much coffee, I guess.” Your partner’s constant “Have you found him yet?” chants aren’t helping either.