John Findley stood in the parking lot of the Croddon Fire Department when he turned on the remote control and programmed and lifted the volunteer fire company’s new DJI Matrice M30T public safety drone to a height of about 5 feet above the ground.
The red light on the drone turned green, the blades began to spin, and quietly surfaced outside the fire station. From a few feet away, you’ll barely notice the noise of a car passing a state road.
For drivers passing through the station, they might think that volunteer firefighters were playing with new toys. However, thanks to charitable donations from local businesses, state-of-the-art drones are essential not only for the Croydon firefighting company in Bristol Township, but also for many other firefighting companies in Bucks County.
The $ 15,000 drone was purchased with full funding from community partner Sterling Helicopter, also in Croydon. The new technology was donated to the Croydon Fire Brigade with the aim of benefiting the Bristol Township community and all other communities in the Backcounty.
Croydon Fire Company was the first back county to adopt such a technology.
Findlay, a registered drone pilot and member of the fire brigade, said the technology was consumer-friendly and had been considering getting a drone since it was released to the public a few years ago.
“We were waiting for a drone suitable for volunteer services like us. We needed something that could be deployed quickly, so when this DGI M30T went on sale, it was for us. It’s a perfect scenario, “says Findlay.
At that time, a Sterling helicopter raided and wrote a $ 15,000 check to the fire brigade. The drone was delivered on June 2nd, ready to meet future needs. Findlay says that in addition to being able to support active fire scenes, drones will support the need for advance planning, water and ice rescue, land search and lost objects, cliff rescue services, and other law enforcement. Said.
According to a fire brigade press release, the DJI M30T features a 200x zoom-capable camera, a 48-megapixel wide camera, an industry-standard 640×512 thermal image camera with temperature accuracy, a laser rangefinder, and video recording capabilities. increase.
“A big fire requires a huge amount of human resources to put out the fire. With this thermal image drone, you can move over the building and see where hotspots may still exist. This will make it safer for firefighters and save time on the ground, “Findlay said.
Additional payload devices such as multi-gas detection and mapping systems for dangerous goods accidents, speaker and spotlight combination systems, and aerial drop systems that can be used to drop levitation devices or drag them to victims in need of lifelines. Currently under development.
Currently, Findlay is the only FAA certified Part 107 pilot capable of operating drones, but the fire department is training additional pilots with the goal of five certified pilots. In addition, all active members are trained as visual observers to assist FAA pilots under gaze procedures for safety.
“It’s hard, but very historic, to have this technology first, to reach out to other fire fighting companies, and to serve the entire backcountry,” says Findley.
Findlay added that Croydon has been dispatched throughout the county to learn how special calls to use drones are made. He also hopes they can help Burlington County firefighting companies with similar needs.
Jason Smith, general manager of Sterling Helicopter, said that after meeting Findlay and the fire brigade, he and his team had an internal discussion and checked the fire brigade.
“I thought it was time to donate to the fire department. It supports the community we are in and is very useful for marine rescue and advance planning. I felt the need to step up to the plate.” Smith said.
Smith added that he believes that technologies like the DGI M30T will be easier for fire fighters to use in the next few years.
“Currently, it’s very popular in big cities, but it’s not happening in volunteer fire brigades because it’s expensive. It’s a new technology that can be implemented quickly, so it’s becoming more and more popular over time. I think it will increase. “
Findlay shuts down the drone and begins returning it to the pavement outside the fire station. The drone has not been used for calls since it arrived on June 2nd.
“But we have it for two weeks and are ready from the day we get it.”
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