Thermal equipment is best known in the fields of rescue and defense, where thermal equipment is used to recognize heat sources. It may be the heat from a wounded person after a fire or engine heat from an enemy vehicle.

In the paranormal field, thermal equipment is finding use in larger extent. The equipment has reached a reasonable price, and it can now be carried in the hand.

Paranormal sightings often include "hot spots", "cold spots" and other phenomena that can be traced with such equipment.

Below is an example of a thermal image of a person and a dog.