Winnipeg Firefighters Deploy UAV for First Time

On Tuesday evening, the Winnipeg Fire Paramedic Service (WFPS) of Manitoba deployed its new unmanned aerial vehicle (UAV) for the first time.

In response to a building fire at 7:45 p.m., the WFPS used its drone – which offers both HD video and thermal imagery – to assist with the assessment of the fire and, later, the detection of hot spots. No injuries were reported in the fire.

“With the drone’s help, the commander of the scene was better able to critically assess the dangers of this fire and direct the crews to target the fire in a more efficient manner,” says Jay Shaw, assistant chief of WFPS. “This is a great example of how our department is using technology to increase safety for our crews and also create better outcomes for citizens”

Funding for the approximately C$44,037 UAV program came from the Innovation Capital Fund. The WFPS currently has four trained pilots on each shift.

According to WFPS, its drone can be used in a variety of scenarios, including water rescues, hazardous materials response, fire scene safety assessments and reconnaissance, and wildland fire monitoring. It can also be used in post-incident analysis and investigation. It allows for a safer, quicker and more efficient response to emergencies, adds WFPS.

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