While thermal cameras and temperature screening devices have been around for years, they’re now being adopted by re-opening businesses to monitor for fevers.
Like any investment in technology, proper setup, careful maintenance, informed use, and strict compliance are all necessary for success.
Extensive research by our security professionals yielded tips, insights, and best practices to get the most out of thermal cameras and temperature screening in five critical areas:
- Placement Planning
- Product Setup
- Continuous Maintenance and Management
- Security Integration
1- Temperature Screening Placement Planning
Certain areas can have a considerable effect on your results, so our recommendation is to create a controlled environment specifically for screenings. As part of that, you should consider location, subjects, and flow.
- Aim for an average room temperature of 20-24C with a relative humidity of less than 50%.
- Consider the proximity of heat sources when positioning cameras. Avoid HVAC vents or units. Keep interior lighting and sunlight from the field of view (FOV). And steer clear of exterior doors and windows.
- Fill the FOV with a uniform colour — something neutral in colour like grey, white, beige, or cream. Avoid black.
- Try to set up your screening area indoors. If outside is the only option, create an enclosed area (like a tent) for it.
- Mark the area where people should stand during screenings and make sure that no one actually touches any platforms to avoid the spread of germs and the virus. For optimal readings, the machine itself will tell you if you need to approach and where to fit your face on the screen.
- Ask people to remain still, pause, and look towards the camera. The most accurate results are achieved with temperature readings from the inner corner of the eye.
- Our systems are able to read faces even with a mask, and they also have the option to refuse entry if someone isn’t wearing a mask.
- Subjects may hold their personal items outside the FOV, but anything that produces heat (like coffee) should be kept away.
- Temperature detection cameras are best used by screening people individually. This can create a “choke point” that slows the flow of foot traffic, Mass screenings are not recommended.
- Managing traffic flow is important to maintain social distancing and prevent cross-contamination between security stations.
- Supplementary methods such as clinical thermometers are recommended when temperature screenings show readings above your set threshold. You should consider a second station for additional tests.
Important Reminder: Temperature detection measures skin temperature to detect fevers (+38˚C). It cannot diagnose COVID-19 and was not designed for this purpose.
2- Temperature Screening Product Setup
Accuracy can be strengthened or weakened by how and where you deploy your human temperature detection system. Optimum deployment will vary based on the devices.
Your screening system should be in a controlled environment where you can maintain room temperature and prevent external heat sources. See our section on placement. When you have an ideal spot for your cameras, devices, and subject, mark the areas so you can reproduce optimal readings every time.
For more information on proper deployment of temperature detection systems, study the ISO’s list of standards for thermographs.
Worth finding: Some thermal cameras are produced to use a blackbody that lets you benchmark a specific temperature. For example, you could benchmark a 38˚C temperature in the winter since everybody’s core temperature rises in a winter coat.
3- Temperature Screening Continuous Maintenance and Management
A human temperature detection system is not a passive solution. Training, regular maintenance, and company-wide adoption are necessary to deliver consistent and accurate results. Some smart practices include:
- Devoting staff and resources to properly monitor your thermal cameras and continuously calibrating them to mitigate misalignments or environmental or seasonal changes.
- Clearly defining policies and supporting your temperature detection plan with a dedicated workflow.
- Scheduling regular checks to make sure your device is taking accurate measurements and recalibrating when necessary.
- Continuously training your team in correct use of the equipment — especially new employees.
- Planning for specific high-risk periods or events with backup strategies for crisis situations.
4- Temperature Screening Security Integration
A temperature screening system should be used in collaboration with a larger security program (following specific rules and processes) to ensure consistency and accuracy. Consider the following when implementing your system:
- Establish protocols and additional checks for subjects who display fever symptoms or cross your defined temperature threshold.
- Prepare your staff with PPE, cleaning supplies, and proper training to carry out supplementary readings.
- Have the communication technology in place to share thermal readings within your existing security framework.
- Take control of risk-management by communicating between screenings, visitor administration, and access control.
Rather than implementing thermal detection as a short-term fix, make it a small part of a larger long-term plan. Consider how it interacts with your security strategy and the other processes you’re introducing to mitigate the effects of COVID-19.
5- Temperature Screening Compliance
We have covered this topic in-depth previously, but here are the major takeaways:
- Review the standards for thermographic screening set by the ISO to better understand their intended purpose. Only use the technology to identify subjects with temperatures above a pre-defined level.
- Follow all Health Canada regulations that apply to your business, as well as those from the Public Health Agency of Canada and your Provincial Ministry of Health.
- Be judicious with the personal data you collected from people.
Remember that cooperation is a key part of controlling the spread of any virus. Cooperate with your community and learn from the expertise of your security providers to prepare for public health risks. For more advice and best practices about using thermal cameras to detect fevers, contact us today.