Thermal imaging cameras are rapidly becoming integral equipment for first responders for use in structure fires and other emergencies. Currently there are no standardized test methods or performance metrics available to the users and manufacturers of these instruments. The Building and Fire Research Laboratory at the National Institute of Standards and Technology has been conducting research that will provide a quantifiable physical and scientific basis upon which industry standards for imaging performance, testing protocols and reporting practices can be developed. To date, the components of this project have included full-scale fire testing, development of bench-scale testing facilities, computational fluid dynamics and radiation modeling, and performance metric evaluations. A workshop was held in which participants representing thermal imager users, manufacturers, researchers, government agencies, and standards developing organizations discussed the future of thermal imaging technology as it applies to first responders. Performance metrics for thermal and spatial resolution have been explored, with emphasis on the contrast transfer function, minimum resolvable temperature difference, and noise equivalent temperature difference. These performance metrics and associated test methods are currently being applied to conditions that simulate first responder scenarios. A system of thermal classifications was adopted to define the boundaries of testing conditions. A method of relating the performance of the imager's display screen to an image captured from the imager's composite video output is proposed. New testing instrumentation, in which optically simulated thermal scenes are projected onto the imager's sensor, is also under development.