GRFD takes to skies with expanded drone program

 

GRAND RAPIDS, Mich. (WOOD) — Grand Rapids firefighters have taken high-tech to new heights.

The Grand Rapids Fire Department, which added a drone to its toolbox just last year, has expanded the program. While they might look like a toy Santa left under the tree for your kid, the two smaller drones recently added to the program pack a lot of potential.

"What we aim to do with this program is to provide more information in a more concise big picture," said Mark Klassen, assistant manager of GRFD's drone program and one of 11 Federal Aviation Administration-certified pilots in the department.

GRFD put its first drone into service last year, and it became a quick success — and not just at fires. When the Grand River rose in February 2018, the fire department was able to monitor the floodwaters from above.  

"To keep an eye on the river, keep an eye on the water levels, make sure that our citizens were safe," Klassen listed, "and to make sure we had a full understanding of what was happening."

The drones not only have video eyes, but they're also equipped with FLIR, short for forward-looking infrared.

Full story: WOOD TV

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