The Redwood Meadows Emergency Services Department (RMES) received a very special gift over the holidays that has the potential to help save homes and lives.
A local resident was generous enough to donate a drone with infrared capabilities and accessories worth almost $10,000.
Fire Chief Rob Evans said, “We are so grateful for the contribution to our equipment inventory and while the generosity of the donation has to be recognized, we do want to respect the request for anonymity by the resident.” stated Evans in a press release.
The equipment will help with precision.
"In firefighting you can imagine that being able to see where hot spots are in fires, being able to pinpoint where we're putting our water is really important to putting fires out quickly and to seeing if it's advancing. In a house fire for example, you might get hot spots or heat registers on a roof line where you can't visibly see where the fire is but you can see the heat under the roof, so it allows us to actually create less damage trying to find that fire and put it out."
Evans said the drone will be useful for search and rescue efforts and will be able to go to places they can't reach.
"You can see people for river searches for example where we might have poor access to a river, we'd be able to fly down a river. You can set waypoint and just basically press go. This drone will go down the river at a set speed and you'll be able to see people where you don't have access to by foot, that type of thing."
"In hazardous materials you can see if a liquified gas like propane or something like that. If it's too dangerous to have firefighters in there you can actually see it blowing off because it'll be colder than the atmosphere around it, so you'll be able to see a tank blowing gas off where with the naked eye you're not able to from a distance."
The drone, or Remotely Piloted Aircraft System (RPAS), will only be flown by members of (RMES) that are currently registered pilots with Transport Canada.
Evans said there are currently only two members who are certified but all 32 volunteer members are encouraged to take the training.