KENNEDY TOWNSHIP (KDKA) — There are certain traits that every first responder must have: swift action and keen vision are among them.
But KDKA’s Kym Gable was introduced to one first responder that also has propellers and weighs less than five pounds.
The Kennedy Township Volunteer Fire Company just received one of Allegheny County’s first drones, designed specifically to aid firefighters and emergency services personnel.
The $1,500 machine was donated by Don Martin, from Martin Communications, who is also a member of the fire department.
Martin says the drone could potentially be first on the scene of a fire or accident.
“Which will be great,” said Martin. “If you have a car accident, the drone can automatically kick out and go to that car accident and see the site and survey the site before the responders get there, and they can view that.”
Drone technology is evolving rapidly for EMS and law enforcement.
The volunteers know they’ll have to thoroughly research the guidelines for using the drone in Allegheny County, but members hope to use them on calls that involve HAZMAT and search and rescue situations.
“It takes two [or] three hours for a specialized team to arrive to see what’s going on,” Captain Justin Gutt said of HAZMAT situations. “With this, we can fly right into there. With search and rescue, you send dogs, manpower in there. It takes some time. With this, you can get a good aerial view.”
Martin says it’s just another tool to improve public safety.
“If it’s going to save lives, we want to do it,” he said.