Drone proves to be ‘excellent’ addition to fire department
The head of South Glengarry’s fire service says the UAV (unmanned aerial vehicle), or drone, acquired about a year ago has been a welcomed addition to the township fire service’s resource kit.
“I think we’ve been very pleased about some of the options and the abilities that it’s brought to us...to allow us to complete some of the responses that we’re called for,” fire chief Dave Robertson told The News.
Chief Robertson explained that the drone – an approximately $1,000 model which he described as being “an entry-level piece of equipment with many of the options that used to be found only on higher-end commercial units” – has been successfully deployed on a number of occasions since it was put into service.
“We’ve used it on structure fires, for property inspections...for brush fires and fires that are far away from the road,” he said.
“It’s an excellent tool that can be sent to inspect areas prior to us sending in our vehicles and other resources to those locations...It’s proven to be very valuable.” Chief Robertson added that the drone is used “more from an administrative or command perspective, as opposed to operations from our fire staff.”
The South Glengarry department is believed to be the only fire service of its size in the region to currently be using drone technology.
The County of Renfrew Paramedic Service has been using drones in medical emergency situations – permitting members to drop off lifesaving medical supplies, defibrillator machines, etc. to those in need – since receiving approval to do so from Transport Canada’s in January 2018.
While he admits that the use of drone technology is “kind of in its infancy,” Chief Robertson said the UAV experience has already exceeded expectations.
“Our intention was to sort of assess its usefulness,” he recalled.
“We could see early on that we had a few response types that we would be able to use it for, and that has proven to be accurate. It’s been a very useful tool.”
He says there are no plans at this time to purchase any additional drones for the municipal fire service.
Chief Dave Robertson