University City Fire Department Looking at Using Drones

Drone in the air. Credit: KMOV


The University City Fire Department is looking at using drones to better serve and protect the public.

Drone video can help first responders in several situations, such as a massive car wreck or a search and rescue mission.

“Instead of having to put 100 firefighters out, we can deploy the drone and assess where the heat signatures are and try to locate the person,” said University City firefighter Matt Pagano.

Pagano said it could be used for missing children or for the elderly. He is training for the fire department to start using drones.

“Our goal is to have six total pilots, two per crew,” said Pagano.

For a fire, Pagano said the drone can be used to figure out where the heat source is the strongest using a thermal camera.

It is also helping firefighters prepare for a fire, getting new perspectives on locations such as the Loop.

At $30,000 a piece, the drones wouldn’t be cheap, but firefighters say it is worth the cost because the drones make their job easier.

The money for the drones would come out of the city’s budget for the next fiscal year if the city council approves funding because it could be used by the police department or by other cities as part of its mutual aid agreement with other cities.

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