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Wabash Valley fire department puts drone program to work

The Vincennes Township Fire Department is making good use of its new drone program.

Posted: Feb. 28, 2019 6:51 PM
Updated: Feb. 28, 2019 6:51 PM

VINCENNES, Ind. (WTHI) -  It takes three firefighters to fly Vincennes Township's drone. Veteran firefighter Paul Stark is one of them.

Stark says, "The main controller is right here. He is the pilot. He is able to view the camera views flir camera."

The pilot controls the flight operations of the craft. Stark is operating the drone's cameras. One of those is the flir camera or forward-looking infrared camera.

Assistant fire chief Eddie King explains, "We can look for heat signatures. Whether it's a missing person. At fires, we can monitor fire conditions. Hazmat incidents we can get an aerial view of the scene."

The drone gives first responders a quick eye in the sky. However, a new feature really puts the craft to work.

King explains, "We also have a drop device. If we have a person who's out in the water. While our water rescue team is getting ready we can actually use the aircraft to fly out a life jacket or life preserver and drop it down to them."

Saving precious seconds to help save a life.

King says, "You know it's going to help with the safety of our citizens. The safety of our firefighters. It gives us a different view of things we haven't been able to see before."

Stark says the technology is something he never envisioned he'd see.

Stark explains, "When I first started in the fire service I didn't, no. But it is absolutely awesome. And a great tool to have in your toolbox."

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