Fire & Police Departments in Dubuque to Use Drones


A new eye in the sky to help keep people safe, and fight fires.

First responders in Dubuque are getting new technology to help with search and rescue efforts. The fire department now has a drone that’ll be used in various emergency situations.

“One of the scenarios we may encounter is someone that’s missing or lost — actually get it up in the air and take an aerial view of our surroundings that we’re trying to search,” said Captain Phil Arensdorf.

It’ll also be used at fire scenes and during inspections, if needed. 

The drone is capable of infrared images, even during the night making rescue operations easier for crews.

This new tool is also about keeping them safe in hazardous situations. An example is the train derailment that occurred north of Dubuque in February 2015.

“Ethanol had been leaking out, sometimes its hard for us to see those products, or see what we’re actually encountering, but we want to make sure we don’t put our rescuers in harms way,” Arensdorf said.

The Dubuque Police Department also recently purchased a drone. They’ll be using it to search for suspects and lost children. It’ll also be useful for investigations. The departments said having a view from above will by helpful in many ways, such as finding discarded weapons on roofs, or recreating crime and crash scenes. 

Currently, both departments are training to fly the drones. There are three firefighters and three officers certified as pilots with the Federal Aviation Administration.

The cost for each drone was about $9,000. The police department paid for theirs with forfeiture funds. [Click for More]