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NEW DETAILS/LIFT OFF: Fire District Tests Drone

NEW DETAILS/LIFT OFF: Fire District Tests Drone

A whirring buzz filled the air in the North Lincoln Fire & Rescue St. Clair fire station in Taft as plastic blades began to turn and a $2,500 drone took off into the sky.

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The drone illustrates the new high technology equipment NLFR is acquiring to improve the district’s fire and life safety operations.

“We are looking to update and upgrade our equipment overall,” said NLFR Capt. Jim Kusz. “These upgrades will allow us to better serve the community as emergency responders.”

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NLFR tests the agency’s new drone at the St. Clair fire station. The drone is part of the shift to new and more effective fire and life saving tools to be used by the fire district.

Cassie Ruud/The News Guard

The new technologies and equipment will be made possible through a bond measure NLFR hopes to pass in May 2018, which could raise property taxes to $0.19 per $1,000 of assessed value if passed. The NLFR District Board of Directors is expected to make final decisions about the bond measure at a public meeting on Feb. 14.

“Technology in firefighting is moving very quickly,” Kusz said. “One of those pieces of technology is the drone. We are still working on how to implement it exactly. But a drone can be useful in getting a clear visual of an area and dropping supplies to stranded persons.”

NLFR drone handlers are in the process of acquiring the needed licenses to effectively use the drone.

“We want to be preparing for the future,” Kusz said.

NLFR Fire Chief Doug Kerr said the new technology and improvements planned for the NLFR stations will be key in effective district operations.

“All of this equipment gets added to the firefighting tool box,” he said. “We’re still learning everything the drone can do. Every day technology changes and we are excited to be able to work with it.”

Newport Fire and Rescue Chief Robert Murphy said the drone and additional new technology would make firefighting easier.

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NLFR tests the agency’s new drone at the St. Clair fire station. The drone is part of the shift to new and more effective fire and life saving tools to be used by the fire district.

Cassie Ruud/The News Guard

“It has the potential to make our jobs easier,” he said. “It will help us do our jobs better. I am in the process of trying to acquire a drone for Newport Fire and Rescue. The potential uses are limitless. I think it’s exciting and useful especially when you think about the number of water and surf rescues we go through. I’m excited to see where this goes.”

The done was a centerpiece showcased during the Coastal Fire Department board meeting on Jan. 25 at the NLFR Taft station.

Read more about the NLFR bond measure at thenewsguard.com and follow developments in the Wednesday editions of The News Guard. [Click for More]

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