Fire departments taking to the skies to save lives

A hexacopter drone is flown during a drone demonstration at a farm and winery on potential use for board members of the National Corn Growers, Thursday, June 11, 2015 in Cordova, Md. Routine commercial use of small drones got a green light from the Obama administration June 21, 2016, after years of struggling to write regulations that would both protect public safety and unleash the economic potential and societal benefits of the new technology. (AP Photo/Alex Brandon)

DAYTON, Ohio (WDTN) – Fire departments in the Miami Valley are now taking to the skies to save lives.  They are the latest to catch on to the growing popularity of drones.

Dayton Fire Department and Sinclair Community College Fire Academy are the first in the Miami Valley to get drones.  The flying devices are a big part of their training and emergency response team.

“I do think drone will change the way people approach a lot of the aspects of Public Safety,” Sinclair Community College Fire Academy Coordinator Kip Smith said.

In January, both DFD and Sinclair were able to get their drone program off the ground.

“One of the really nice things about a drone is you can fly A drone in close proximity to an incident and do a complete 360 around the building or around an bad accident or trapped response end it gives the incident commander a whole new perspective on what he or she is dealing with,” Smith said.

The Dayton FD pilot program used drones during hazmat training in May.  The flying device hovered around during a simulation training for a de-railed train leak.  The drones being an extra set of eyes in the sky looking out for their crew.

“A lot less exposure to the firefighters and a lot more information and a lot more Intel before they went out there. A lot faster response,” smith said.

Drones are being used for rope training, according to Smith, and help with search and recovery efforts as well as battling blazes.

“You go out and fly over something and look for heat signatures, so from a firefighting standpoint it can show you hotspots in the structure after a fire,” Smith said. “There’s a lot of sophistication in the use of drones.  Obviously it’s not limited to public safety, but public safety certainly has picked up on the uses that are out there.”

The drone used by the Dayton Fire Department cost two thousand dollars and was paid for with monies in the hazmat team budget.  The firefighters are required to undergo training and certification to fly drones.

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