Recently Southern Manatee purchased a U.A.S. (Unmanned Aerial System or Drone) for it’s HazMat team. This system allows us to gather real time information from long distances without having to put firefighters in harms way. The drone can be deployed within minutes from any scene, structure fires, hazmat incidents or even search and rescue. Attached to the belly of the aircraft is a high resolution camera that sends crystal clear images to the pilot from very long distances. The UAV also has a thermal imaging camera or F.L.I.R. (Forward Looking Infra-Red) that detects heat variations to create it’s image. This allows us to fly the drone at night and be able to see changing conditions at a structure fire or even to see when chemical reactions are taking place inside a container at a HazMat scene.
This technology is new to the Fire service and we are excited about how it will change the way we “see” our future incidents. The link below is a short video of the drone’s capabilities.