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CLEBURNE (CBS11) – As they realize the versatility of the technology, first responder demand for drones has soared.
Drone makers came to Cleburne to show the latest tech that allows someone to stay at a safe distance and monitor a or a rescue attempt or search for missing persons or suspects.
The next generation of drone is the DJI Company’s first designed specifically for police, fire and industrial use.
“So, that means that you’re able to get close to a fire and get new perspectives on fire,” said company spokesman Michael Perry. “It will be able to get close to cell towers and be able to look at the cell tower in a really short amount of time… It’s designed specifically for any jobs that are too dull, dirty, dangerous or costly for normal human inspectors to do.”
A demonstration had one of the drones racing to the top of an enormous cell tower, then using the new, high power lens to zoom in close enough to inspect wiring.
They also showed closeup detail of a rope rescue of a person from the side of a five-story tower. That would allow a commander on the ground to know firsthand if the rescuers were fatigued or in need of further help.
Another demonstration had drones monitoring the progress of fire fighters entering a fire training building battling a building fire.
The drones can also carry a regular and a thermal camera to help look for hot spots in fires or to find missing people.
Jamie Moore, spokesman for Johnson County Emergency Management, imagined a scenario where operators could use both cameras in a life-saving operation,”‘Hey! Is that a spot, is that a person I’m looking at on the thermal imager? I don’t know. Let’s switch to optical camera. Oh Yes. That is the person’.”
The new drones can also stay airborne twice as long.
The display of the new tech drew first responders and police from all over north Texas, all looking for ways to keep their crews out of danger.
“It’s all about risk. And this limits that risk,” Moore said. “And of cours, in law enforcement scenarios it’s the same way. If you can fly out to a guy in the woods hiding and figure out if he pointing a gun or no he’s just got a walking stick, it makes a big difference in how they respond.”