PHOENIX - The Phoenix Fire Department will now have some new eyes in the sky thanks to technology that will help them fight fires and conduct search and rescue missions in a more efficient way.
The department has now implemented drones for the first time ever, and it's already started to use them on a number of calls this month. Crews say they can already see how much more effective this is as they ultimately work to save lives.
"This is the future and this is what we need to be a part of," says Rob McDade, a captain with the Phoenix Fire Department.
Phoenix Fire now has 3 drones and 9 FAA-certified pilots that will work together with an incident management system on active incidents. The technology will allow the fire crews to identify any potential hazards on their calls.
"We often respond with very little information. What a drone does is a great info gatherer, it lets us realize with 360 aerial view," says Daniel Cheatham, a division chief with the Phoenix Fire Department.
This will also be a game-changer for crews as they conduct search and rescues, especially on mountains.
"It is going to find those folks a mile from that trailhead so we know where to send our folks," McDade said.
The drones allow for efficiency which will reduce rescue times and will help them save lives.
"Not only cost-effective, but our service delivery is gonna improve," McDade said.
This new program is made possible after the Phoenix City Council supported and approved the funding of the drones and certification of the pilots.