Local News

Drone gives Wake Forest firefighters a different view

The Wake Forest Fire Department uses a drone to get a 400-foot aerial view when responding to fires.

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Rosalia Fodera
, WRAL multimedia journalist
WAKE FOREST, N.C. — Most fires are battled from the ground, but in some cases, seeing it from above can make a big difference.

The Wake Forest Fire Department uses a drone to get a 400-foot aerial view.

“It gives you a different perspective on the incident and allows us to see things that we wouldn't otherwise,” said Steve Rhode, the department’s chief pilot.

The drone allowed the department to help coordinate efforts during a woods fire that burned 50 acres in Wake County.

“We were able to get out over the high-tension power lines and quickly move from one part of the fire to the other and then help direct ground staff where they needed to be,” Rhode said.

Finding hot spots is important, and the drone offers a different way of doing it.

“The white area is the hottest part, so if you wanted to try to find the hot part of the fire or find somebody in the woods or something like that you can tell them apart,” Rhode said.

White areas show the hottest parts of fires in the Wake Forest Fire Department's drone video.

The drone can also deliver items to people in need.

“We can carry a megaphone to talk to somebody who is lost,” Rhode said. “We can carry supplies to somebody who might need them.”

It's a tool that's changed firefighting.

“The drone has brought us additional information that we can use in a real time situation,” said Edward Barrett, Wake Forest Fire battalion chief.


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