SAVANNAH, Ga. (WSAV) – Local firefighters are upgrading their operations with a fleet of drones in an effort to better protect Savannahians.
Savannah Fire Rescue crews say it can be difficult on the ground to determine the source of a fire — or whether someone is trapped. But with the birds-eye view a drone offers, firefighters say they can focus their rescue efforts on saving lives.
“There’s a lot of issues that can occur downrange that aren’t planned for,” said Savannah Fire Engineer Brian Harris. “Having a drone go in and look, view the area, can save a lot of possible outcomes that can be dangerous to firefighters and hazmat teams.”
Firefighters tell News 3 these drones are no toys. It takes intense training and air space knowledge to get the devices off of the ground.
Six firefighters will become certified to use the technology for hazmat incidents, fire emergencies and search and rescue operations. The drones can also detect heat, pinpointing any hotspots.
Savannah Fire says crews have been learning, in part, from their partners at the Savannah Police Department, which began using drones just two years ago for incidents like crashes with serious injuries.
“They were one of our go-to agencies. We learned a lot of great information from them,” Savannah Fire Battalion Chief Jeff Alberts said. “We’ve seen some of the video that they’ve been using through their different incidents that they’ve been on and we definitely see the benefit on that almost immediately.”
Firefighters will take their certification tests next week. Once they obtain their license, they can start flying the drones as early as this month.