WLFD reveals new drone technology | News | gmtoday.com – Greater Milwaukee Today

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Updated: October 28, 2021 @ 2:58 pm
Deputy Fire Chief & Lead Pilot Brad Ingersoll demonstrates how real-time footage is gathered by one of the new drones.
 
One of the two drones that the Western Lakes Fire District has been using since March.
 

Deputy Fire Chief & Lead Pilot Brad Ingersoll demonstrates how real-time footage is gathered by one of the new drones.
 
One of the two drones that the Western Lakes Fire District has been using since March.
 
OCONOMOWOC — The Western Lakes Fire District announced last week that they are using new technology — donated drones — which will provide potentially life-saving services when responding to various emergencies in the community.
Since receiving the technology in March, Deputy Fire Chief & Lead Pilot Brad Ingersoll said they’ve already used them in a variety of situations, including flying one for approximately six hours during the Roundy’s warehouse shooting in Oconomowoc in March.
The department has also helped fight wild grass fires, helping fire crews on the ground locate fires that they were unable to see.
At a press conference last Thursday, Ingersoll said the district is excited to finally formally launch their Small Unmanned Aircraft System Aviation Program. The program is teamed with five certified pilots within the department.
The fire department was able to receive the drone systems, totaling nearly $30,000, through community donations. The smaller of the two drones is used as a trainer. It can be flown indoors — potentially assisting police during emergencies such as a building collapse.
The large drone is one of the most enhanced available, with a camera that allows the department to discern license plates from two miles away. The camera also has thermal imaging, allowing the department to locate people in both the dark and daytime, assisting the department’s searches for missing people.
The drone can also assist the fire department in water rescue missions. The drone has a “drop system,” with which it drop buoys and life vests into the water. The camera can also help the department see up to 20 feet under water.
Footage from both drones can be captured in live time and shared through a live link. The footage would be shared live with other departments or law enforcement in emergencies, allowing people at the scene to be aware of what’s going on.
Ingersoll said the large drone is one of four of its kind in the state, joining those of the Waukesha County Sheriff’s Department, Waukesha Police Department and the Green Bay Fire Department — which they are helping to train.
The drone can also fly autonomously to GPS coordinates, allowing the department to save time.
“We see in emergency services all the time that time makes a difference, so the faster that we can get somebody there to help, the better that the situation is going to be,” Ingersoll said.
Watch a video of the Western Lakes Fire District using the drone at https://bit.ly/3G6i44O.

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