WEST HAVEN – Residents recently gained another layer of police and fire protection as the West Haven Fire Department received a donation of a state-of-the-art drone that will fly between the city’s three fire and police departments. share between.
Propel UAS, a division of Evan Consulting, and the National Public Safety Drone Donation Program partnered to provide free drones to departments in need, and the West Haven Fire Department submitted a successful proposal.
Central Fire Chief James P. O'Brien said the technology is developing rapidly and is a "powerful tool" for firefighters and police.
"We saw potential," and built a solid foundation after working with the late Orange Fire Marshal Tim Smith, who spearheaded a program for him and other area departments a few years ago, he said.
Drones help with search and rescue along coastlines, documenting coastlines before and after storms (for use by FEMA), finding missing people in the woods, and flying into areas after fires, O'Brien said.
While the donated drone is state-of-the-art, it needs add-ons such as thermal imaging and night-vision cameras, which they are seeking funding through grants and other means, he said.
The department has been using drones for training and has an FAA Part 107 licensed drone pilot to fly them, according to a release.
Propel UAS donated the new Autel EVO II drone. Propel UAS, which has more than 20 years of expertise in aviation and drones, has partnered with NPS-DDP to provide grant writing assistance to departments in need, the release said.
"This technology will help save lives and simplify deployment, and provide the sector with rapid real-time situational awareness," the release said.