Brilliant thinking: The importance of lighting in search & rescue missions


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Any search and rescue mission can be fraught with danger. The potential for a hazardous environment or high-risk situation can be found around every corner of your journey. Even in broad daylight, time is of the essence and chances of success can be slim, so when operating in the dark the odds can stack up against you.   

Reliable, versatile and high-quality lighting products are key to optimising success. Trusted around the world in many industries, the team at Streamlight have worked closely with customers operating on the front line, ensuring they offer lighting solutions for every eventuality. Whether spotting a catastrophe before it happens, planning a safe route over treacherous terrain, locating obstructions or signalling to others, employing a Streamlight safety-rated torch or lantern could be the deciding lifeline in perilous urban and remote environments.  

Innovation to saves lives 

Defined by their innovation in delivering effective, efficient and high-performance lighting solutions, Streamlight’s research and development team puts in the necessary time and effort to make sure their next product helps save lives and protect firefighters on the job. It’s not just firefighters the company works with, but other first responders, military and law enforcement operators too. Creating new products can take anywhere from months to years, depending on the complexity of the product. Features and output may change, but the commitment to quality and innovation remains the same. Streamlight is proud to have garnered the reputation as a leading provider of trusted high-performance torches and lanterns, and is able to offer products that exceed certification requirements for applications in the fire safety market worldwide. 

1-ISJ- Brilliant thinking: The importance of lighting in search & rescue missions

President and CEO of Streamlight, Ray Sharrah, explains: “We are revolutionising LED lights, making them brighter, safer and incredibly durable. After we’ve met the challenges involved in designing and engineering a light, we put it through the most demanding industry testing to ensure the highest levels of performance and dependability.” 

Some of the company’s latest advancements enable their lights to be used in some of the most dangerous environments, including the ability to operate in dense smoke, hazardous landscapes and severe weather. Some Streamlight models can illuminate a vast area or project a defined beam of light up to a mile away. The company has developed products with unique articulating heads so a beam can be directed precisely where it is needed, while other units can be attached in multiple ways for hands-free use in situations where both hands are necessary. Plus, Streamlight’s multi-fuel torches are easy to recharge and can hold power for extreme durations.  

Equipment that offers versatility 

When choosing lighting options for search and rescue operations, there are multiple factors to consider. Brightness (lumens), beam width and range (candela), power source, size, functionality and safety rating are all factors to weigh when selecting a light. While many products are versatile, your choice will ultimately depend on your specific needs and the environments you intend to deploy them in. 

Personal right-angle models are respected favourites among firefighters around the world, offering extreme brightness and durability in a compact size. By using this type of light as a handheld torch, responders can locate a target in need in low light situations. If both hands are required to conduct the rescue phase of the operation, a right-angle torch can be clipped to a belt or harness, allowing full use of hands to operate machinery or remove obstructions. The versatility and small size allow these lights to work great in tight, enclosed spaces, where a mission can sometimes lead to.  

3-ISJ- Brilliant thinking: The importance of lighting in search & rescue missions

The PolyTac® 90X USB, for example, is a multi-fuel torch, meaning you can conveniently charge rechargeable batteries through the USB port on the light or use disposable batteries when needs arise. Plus, it offers up to 500 lumens, which is more than an adequate amount of light for most scenarios. The Survivor® is another model with extreme brightness, compact size and exceptional durability. The light is designed with easy to operate buttons and fast, universal clip-on, clip-off features, making it easy to use when wearing heavy gloves. It also benefits from unique interchangeable ‘Smoke Cutter’ plugs that help create your preferred beam pattern and reduce peripheral light and eye fatigue caused by glare. In addition, the Survivor® is IPX4-rated water resistant, HAZ-LO Division 1 approved and ATEX Rated, 2-metre impact resistant and utilises a scratch resistant polycarbonate lens. Its four lighting modes even include a ‘moonlight’ setting which can sustain use for 20 days.   

When more coverage is needed to brighten a greater expanse of land for important search and rescue missions, look to lanterns and area lights to light up the scene. Such lights provide far greater brightness, with options that can clearly illuminate a subject up to a mile away, aiding in searching a vast area quickly. Some of these lights used in search and rescue feature newly developed diffusers that can transform a spotlight into a scene light in seconds, casting light over an entire rescue scene or warehouse.  

Vice President of Sales and Marketing at Streamlight, Michael F. Dineen, explains the latest edition to the Vulcanâ series of lanterns, “We are very proud of the new Vulcanâ180 HAZ-LOâ ATEX lantern. Our new intrinsically safe, portable lantern is ATEX and IECEx certified for use in Zone 0 locations. It features a 180° articulating head with three bright white LEDs and two ultrabright blue taillights to provide visibility in thick smoke. In addition, it operates cordlessly, eliminating a possible trip hazard in already dangerous environments. 

“This lantern has the ability to keep first responders safe in dangerous situations, which is something we take a lot of pride in. Not only are we aiming to make the brightest, best lighting tools on the market, we also make lights that people can rely on every single day to do their jobs and keep them safe.” 

Strategy plays a huge part in a search and rescue mission, and lighting should be a big consideration that is never overlooked. International safety rated products, like Streamlight flashlights, will provide you with the confidence and trust needed to improve the odds of success in any search and rescue operation. 

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