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Fire department adds drones for enhanced firefighting, rescue missions to save more lives


One could say there are new members of the North Canton Fire Department, and it comes in the form of aerial technology — eight drones. Along with traditional fire truck sirens, the buzzing of drones is likely to increasingly be heard at fire scenes and more.

“It’s extremely useful,” North Canton Fire Capt. Tony Pope said to News 13 on Thursday, Dec. 7.

He said a drone in the sky brings more teamwork to fighting a fire.

“On fire scenes, you can see hot spots on a building, especially like if we had larger commercial buildings on fire,” Pope said.

Pope said drones can do even more.

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“We can do searches, missing hikers, lost kids. Have the thermal which is good for at night,” he said.

Pope has a team of 7 firefighters on the new drone team—4 FAA certified, 3 currently getting their licenses.

“They’ll have that with them at home when they can go straight to a scene if they need to,” he says.

“We’ve done thermal training here at the department quite a bit,” says Allen Newland.

Newland, with his drone company, A Shot Above, is a volunteer on the team adding valuable knowledge.

That includes thermal technology.

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“If you’ve got a structure fire, everyone is concentrated on that structure. There could be a secondary fire that’s coming up somewhere else. We could see that,” Newland said.

Just with the camera, Newland says it gives those in command more situational awareness.

“You can look at the big picture, see what’s going on there — see what’s going on around. See if there’s anything else happening, they need to address somewhere else around. If you could see someone is behind the building and they’re in a tough situation, or you have a stand-off situation, you could see what people are in the area,” Newland said.

It’s a direct, real-time feed from the drone to the ground.

“With this particular unit here, we’re able to cast this wirelessly back to our command center so that the incident commander or chief or whoever it needs to be can see what the operator is seeing at the same time,” Newland said.

The program is just starting up and the drones have yet to be deployed on a call, but the team said it’s just a matter of time before this equipment saves lives.

Newland and Pope both said they see many more applications coming.



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Written by Townreels

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