The Manlius Fire Department appears to be the very first fire department in Onondaga County to get a FAA drone operators license.
Chief Brad Pinsky says the UAV is quickly becoming a vital tool in their emergency responses.
“We think its a life saving tool both for firefighters, for residents, for people who are lost in the woods, for any type of incident where you need a quick an eye in the sky, or the ability to put even a thermal imaging camera 200 feet in the air.” Pinsky tells NewsChannel 9.
He’s already used it at the scene of a house fire giving him a birds eye view so he could assess how best to attack these flames while keeping his firefighters safe.
They also used the video later as a training tool and assessment of how they tackled this fire.
Pinsky says it came in handy on a grassfire call, “We had the opportunity to fly the drone about a half mile out long before the fire trucks and firefighters could even get there. We located the fire immediately saving time so it didn’t spread, we were able to hover in and see what resources we would need.”
The department is now looking for a State grant to help them buy a slightly larger drone that would be able to carry a thermal imaging camera.