NWFD uses drones to help in emergency situations

TUCSON – The Northwest Fire District is using drones to help assist hiker and swift water rescues during the monsoon.

Captain Brian Keeley said that the department has had a small drone for almost two years now and budgeted to purchase a bigger drone about six months ago.

“We can zoom in for a great distance with this one and with great details, and with this one, we can pick up infrared signatures,” he said. “What they have changed for us is that what we call the ‘fifth side’. So on the building, for example, especially a multi-story building, we can see the four sides, especially if there is a fire involved. But it is the fifth side, the roof, which is our biggest concern, especially for firefighters because we want to know before a collapse.”

He said that the bigger drone can also carry necessary materials to victims in hard to reach areas.

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