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Orem Fire Dept. using drone to fight structure fires, find missing people

(Photo: Devon Dewey, KSL)

OREM — The Orem Fire Department is using drone technology to help them fight structure fires and save lives.

The drone has the latest technology available, including large zoom and infrared cameras. The drone will help firefighters pinpoint the hottest spots of a fire to keep it from spreading.

The cameras are pretty sharp.

“Over 1,000 feet, we can read a license plate. You can identify a person from up to 2 to 2.5 miles away,” says Orem Fire Battalion Chief Ryan Peterson.

The drones are also designed to handle Utah’s finicky weather.

“So, we can fly it in light rains showers, and noticeably the cold weather,” says Chief Peterson.

The $30,000 drone was donated to Orem Fire by Pro Fire Energy, a company dedicated to helping public safety organizations. Pro Fire CEO Brenton Hatch says the drones give firefighters and search and rescue crews a safe way to do their jobs.

“Hopefully [it] help them find the advantages that allow not only lives to be saved, but injuries to be eliminated,” says Hatch.

Chief Peterson says they plan to offer the drone’s services to other public safety, fire, EMS, law enforcement, and search and rescue agencies around the state.

Testing for use of the drones in battling wildfires is currently in progress.