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Minnesota First Responders Get Drone Demonstration

Part Of Presentation At The 2018 Minnesota State Fire School & Expo

First responders attending the recent 2018 Minnesota State Fire School & Expo got a first hand look at how drones can be an effective tool for firefighting and in other emergency situations.

The demonstration was conducted by Al Ebbinga from Alex Air Apparatus, which markets multiple products to firefighters. Television station KEYC reports that the presentation at the Expo included a lecture, and then a live drone demonstration. Those attending the session either watched the drone flight first hand or saw what the onboard camera was capturing on a video monitor.

Ebbinga said that one of the company's goals is trying to shift the mentality away from drones as "toys" to drones as "tools". He said that they try to avoid the use of the term "drone", as it has become so closely associated with aircraft that consumers can buy. He said they prefer the terms "unmanned aerial vehicle" or "unmanned aircraft system".

The ability of the UAVs to fly over areas using thermal imaging cameras as well as high-definition video equipment is gaining traction with first responders across the country. The National Parks Service uses consumer drones for search and rescue operations, often several times per day, according to the report. But while there are more than 30,000 local fire departments in the U.S., only about 1,000 are actively using drones.

(Image from file)

FMI: Original report

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