Merrill Fire Department Introduces New Drone | Best Stories


The Merrill Fire Department’s newest high-tech toy gives them an edge few other state departments have access to.



MERRILL, Wisconsin (WAOW) – The Merrill Fire Department’s newest high-tech toy gives them an edge few other state departments have access to.

It’s a new way to watch a scene and help fight fires, and serve as an eye in the sky, and all firefighters have to do is push a button.

A captive drone, called “Fotokite”, is designed for first responders to enable rapid installation and deployment, getting them the information they need, faster.

“So by deploying the drone and being able to have those aerial images, it allowed us to follow to a certain extent where the people were, and with the infrared technology, we were also able to determine where the people might be. potential hot spots. ” Merrill Fire Chief Josh Klug said.

It allows firefighters to have a top-down view of any situation, and because it’s linked to the base, anyone, not just a licensed drone pilot, can fly it.

“So Foto figured out that they had to make fire-proof technology, so it’s all very solid and easy to do,” Klug said, “really at the push of a button.” s

The department got the drone a few months ago, but its first trip to the field took place Tuesday, where it was first deployed and used in action.

Battalion Commander Tadd Wegener said on the spot that the drone had been of great help.

“I call it the eye in the sky, it has thermal imaging capabilities, and it tells us where the hot spots are, and it’s very beneficial to us and how we conduct our fire operations. ” said Wegener.

The drone will get an upgrade in January, where it can be deployed automatically from their newly acquired vehicle, Engine 61, rather than being transported and brought to the scene separately.

The engine and drone were both part of a grant to firefighters from the Beirman Foundation.