published on May 29, 2020 - 3:50 PM
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A new drone for firefighters will help bring an eagle-eyed view to vulnerable land in west Fresno County.

Oil and gas producer Area Energy provided the $5,000 needed to purchase the flying remote by Fresno County Fire Protection District, according to a press release.

The drone will help provide reconnaissance in rural areas with limited access on surface streets or with mapping out potential dangers. It can also be used for search-and-rescue operations when helicopters are unavailable.

“This new drone can be quickly deployed to give firefighters important information about the emergency scene from an aerial view,” said Fresno County Fire Protection District Fire Chief Mark A. Johnson. “Whether assisting in a rescue from a car over the side of the highway or responding to a fire in a difficult to reach area— the drone will increase the level of safety for our first responders and allows us to more efficiently provide the emergency services that are needed.”

Firefighters had a chance to put the drone to practical use in the Haystack Fire on May 21. The line-of-sight provided by the device helped firefighters strategize how to prevent the flames from spreading and causing additional damage, the release stated.

“This drone represents the future of emergency response efforts,” said Fresno County Supervisor Buddy Mendes. “First responders are using this technology all over the country already, and it’s something we needed in Fresno County. It’s an essential piece of equipment if it means it can make things safer for our first responders, who put their lives on the line for us every day.”

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