High-tech drones to assist Morinville Fire Services through new partnership

by Morinville News Staff

The Morinville Fire Department has launched a new partnership and collaboration with A3UAV, a Transport Canada certified Canadian Unmanned Aerial Vehicle (UAV) company providing UAV services to municipalities.

Over the past few months, the Fire Department pilots and A3UAV have been taking courses, training, and hours of flight time over the past few months to utilize UAV technology as an additional Fire Department resource.

The Town says the Aeryon SkyRanger is ready to deploy in Morinville 24 hours a day. The sophisticated piece of technology is equipped with a thermal camera to help locate fire hot spots, stray embers and heat signatures that can assist in operations. Additionally, a zoom camera can provide detailed site assessment information from more than 1000 feet away. The UAV pilot will be able to launch the UAV from a safe location.

The Town says the SkyRangers are built for reliable operations in extreme conditions, including high winds and rapidly changing environments, and capable to fly in -30 Celsius temperatures.

“We started researching the use of UAV’s in firefighting operations after a large condo fire we responded to on July 11, 2015,” said Fire Chief Brad Boddez in a Town of Morinville release. “We found a YouTube video taken by a resident who had a recreational drone fly over the site after operations had ceased. I realized the potential this could have and the great resource a UAV could have in firefighting operations. The commander could have a much greater visibility of the fire ground while maintaining the safety of the personnel.”

The SkyRangers can be used to create detailed 2D and 3D maps of affected fire areas which can assist investigations. This feature can also be utilized for preplanning, inspections, and future developments.

The Town says the program is the first of its kind in Alberta.

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