Image ©JEFF MURRAY / ELMIRA STAR-GAZETTE
SOURCE Star Gazette: Town of Elmira Fire District No. 1 recently purchased a $5,000 drone that can identify hot spots in a structure fire, help rescuers locate missing people, and perform myriad other tasks during an emergency situation.
The drone can instantly offer a bird’s-eye view of a scene that would otherwise require calling in a helicopter or other aircraft, said Fire District No. 1 Commissioner Fred Loomis.
“Lots of fire departments around the country are adding this technology to their tool bags. We thought it would be beneficial if we had one,” Loomis said.
“It’s a valuable tool to guide the incident commander at the scene of a fire,” he said. “It can see body heat, so it’s good for river rescue calls.”
West Elmira is the first volunteer fire department in the county to have its own drone, said Chemung County Fire Coordinator Jeff Gray.
The Elmira Police Department and New York State Police have drones, Gray said, as do the state Office of Fire Prevention and Control in Montour Falls and state Department of Environmental Conservation.
Drones can be an indispensable asset for fire departments, according to Gray.