WICHITA FALLS (KFDX)– It’s been a little over a year since the Wichita Falls Fire Department got a grant for their first ever drone.
When the fire department got their drone, Fire Chief Jon Reese says it didn’t take long to know it could have an impact as a roving set of eyes for firefighters on the ground, making their job safer and allowing them to see what risks may be developing for civilians.
“We’re able to put this thing up in the air relatively quick and keep an eye on the roof and the conditions above us as we work underneath,” Reese said.
He says training continues in putting the drones to the most efficient use but they have been put to use in several fires. In fact, the first drone was put into the sky almost immediately at the Ashley Furniture fire last year. Recently, one went far from home to assist in the devastating wildfires in the panhandle.
“So the technology is going to help us in the future in the fire service to where we can utilize machines such as this for large scale urban search and rescue and large fires.”
The Wichita Falls Fire Department is cooperating with the state in organizing joint use of drones for natural disasters.
“They’re working on developing a rapidly deplorable force of drones that can go to certain large scale incidents- wildfires, tornadoes, floods. Things like that.”
At home, it’s being put to use to protect citizens from more threats than just fires.
“We have deployed it in conjunction with the police department several times on crime scenes.”
And in the future, he says that small piece of equipment has potential to do so much more.
“As we move forward and kind of figure out where we want to use this in the fire service and in the public safety side of it, I think that we will be able to do a lot more than what we think we can do.”
The chief says in addition to what they’ve been able to do in the last year, they’re working with a software company to find ways to continue to do more with the gadget in the future.