COLORADO SPRINGS — The Colorado Springs Fire Department (CSFD) is making a big investment in drone technology. Drones are not new to CSFD—this one is a lot larger, sturdier, and with a lot more technology-supported capabilities.
The air support can enhance many types of fire department missions.
“From monitoring fires, wildland fires, structure fires, to search and rescue on the westside of the city, high angle rescue,” said Captain Mike Smaldino who pilots the drone.
The new tool has been around just weeks and is already in use by CSFD. Incident commanders at the recent fire near Interquest Parkway asked for an assist.
“Because there was so much smoke he needed to see where is the fire was going, and basically what do we have,” said Smaldino.
Even from above, smoke hindered visibility but the drone's camera also includes an infrared option.
“For the most part, you can pick up the hotspots, you can actually see where the fire is and where it might be going.”
The infrared images show fire going toward a home, you can also see a fire truck in place for protection.
The person piloting the drone has a controller and there is a second one that can be handed to an incident commander. It allows them to see images in real time. If necessary they can also review recordings.