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Firefighters using drones to help with emergencies in Phoenix

They say it helps their officers respond to emergencies quicker, safer and more efficiently

PHOENIX — Phoenix firefighters are called to different emergency-type situations every day.

But now they have launched a new tool that is helping them respond quicker and safer. 

When it comes to emergencies, Phoenix firefighters are getting a helping hand with some new technology.

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"This guy is one of our three drones in our fleet," Capt. Kenny Overton said as he looked at the new aircraft.

"We're always looking for new and creative ways to serve the citizens of Phoenix," Capt. Evan Gammage explained. "This gives us another tool."

With different features like multiple cameras, thermal capabilities and a powerful zooming function, these drones are an extra set of eyes when firefighters need it most.

"So, we're looking at roughly 35 minutes of flight time per battery," Overton said.

"The dream of getting this was just as another resource for us, another tool for both structure fires and mountain rescues," Gammage said. "With structure fires, it allows us to get an elevated view and get in place pretty rapidly so we can see different sides of the fire."

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Since the program's launch more than a month ago, Phoenix firefighters have used this new technology in more than a dozen service calls. And they say, so far, it's proven to be extremely helpful.

"So getting that roof view and a 360-degree view of the structure is extremely helpful not only for us in suppressing the fire but in operating it safely," Gammage said.

These eyes in the sky are taking Phoenix Fire's emergency response to new heights, making them better, quicker, and more efficient when disaster strikes.

So far there are 10 pilots who are now trained and certified to fly the drones. The department hopes to expand the program and get more of its officers involved. 

They also say other departments in the area have reached out to get their thoughts on utilizing drones and to see if it would be beneficial for their agencies.

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