NewsCovering Colorado


Drones offer a new dimension of public safety for Colorado Springs firefighters

Posted at 6:55 PM, Dec 05, 2023
and last updated 2023-12-06 08:29:05-05

COLORADO SPRINGS — Three major structure fire responses in just four days got support from the Colorado Springs Fire Department’s new Special Operations Division.

The support from the division formed back in August is visuals and infrared images from drones.

“We have just been evolving pretty much every week since we've been stood up,” Captain JJ Halsey with Colorado Springs Fire Department.

Drones add highly useful information very quickly.

Firefighters stay at a safe location while the drone shows views from around and above and incident

“Allows us to be better at what we do, allows us to be quicker, and allows us to you know, mitigate those hazards earlier than when we didn't have it,” said Halsey.

Because of a drone overhead, incident commanders get a better idea of what is burning and what is threatened.

“Allows them to see the overall scene not just that one dimension of the building from their windshield. They can see all sides, it can see what all the crews are doing, they can see if there's any safety issue,” said Halsey.

The aerial images get transmitted real-time to screens and mobile phones of incident commanders.

“Up above aerial reconnaissance and intelligence that they never had before.”

The drones are also versatile.

 Halsey said, “It doesn't just have to be structure fires, it could be anything from lost hikers, injured hikers, wildland incidents.”

In the few months of full-time support drones are helping firefighters respond more quickly and safely.

“It's a game changer, it really is,” said Halsey.

The Special Operations Unit sees many more potential uses for the drones that they will implement as the continue to test technology.

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