Fire department gets drone - KAIT Jonesboro, AR - Region 8 News, weather, sports

Fire department gets drone

(Source: KAIT/CNN) (Source: KAIT/CNN)
(Source: KAIT/CNN) (Source: KAIT/CNN)
(Source: KAIT/CNN) (Source: KAIT/CNN)

The West Memphis Fire Department will now have a new way of looking at emergency situations after they recently purchased a drone.

"It's something that our department could utilize,” said Lt. Fred Thorne. “It would save us a lot of time and a lot of manpower."

The new piece of technology cost the department $1,800 and will be used to give firefighters a bird’s eye view of certain incidents, including a hazmat scene.

"What 10 guys can cover on the ground, this can cover itself in half the time,” Thorne said.

For example, last month, a truck spilled a poisonous material that firefighters were not sure if it had mixed with water in a nearby ditch.

Because that spillage could have led to a deadly situation, firefighters had to take care of it.

“We had so many personnel on the scene that day, we had call in off-duty firefighters to man that equipment to still protect the city,” said Thorne. “We would've saved $1,000 in overtime costs."

Thorne says the drone will be able to handle situations like that.

The FAA has recommended not flying the drone at night and that the drone should have a 400-foot height limit.

Thorne said the firefighters are currently in training and hope to get certified in March.

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