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Drones Boost Firefighting Capability

Fire and Rescue NSW (FRNSW) crews at Kelso Fire Station are being trained to use state-of-the-art drone technology to assist in firefighting operations and a range of other emergencies.

Deputy Premier and Member for Bathurst Paul Toole said this is one of 25 locations across regional NSW to benefit from the Remotely Piloted Aircraft Systems (RPAS) rollout.

“Deploying these drones to Kelso will give our firefighters an eye in the sky to more effectively perform their life-saving work and keep our local community as safe as possible,” Mr Toole said.

“Each drone is connected to the FRNSW wireless and satellite communication network so that the images can be viewed and analysed in real-time at the scene of an emergency. This will help our firefighters make quicker decisions and act faster.”

Minister for Emergency Services and Resilience and Minister for Flood Recovery Steph Cooke said the RPAS are equipped with thermal imaging cameras and laser technology.

“These high-tech cameras can detect variable heat temperatures, identify people or animals under threat in a fire zone and measure the size of an area impacted by fire,” Ms Cooke said.

“This is part of a $5.4 million investment from the Bushfire Inquiry which the NSW Government is proud to be funding.”

FRNSW Bushfire and Aviation Unit Commander Scott Donohoe said the drones can be activated at an emergency scene within minutes.

“The drones are stored in our vehicles and ready for immediate use, providing FRNSW commanders with aerial images that can help determine the safest and most effective places to position fire trucks and crews,” Superintendent Donohoe said.

A total of 200 firefighters, including those at Kelso, are being trained to pilot the drones.

The drones can be used to assess bush fire risk, assist in hazard reduction operations and find people missing in dense bushland.  

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