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Albemarle County Fire and Rescue Develops Drone Program

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Albemarle County Fire and Rescue Albemarle County Fire and Rescue
ALBEMARLE COUNTY, Va. (WVIR) -

Albemarle County Fire and Rescue is looking to add eyes in the skies over an emergency scene.

The department is developing an unmanned aerial systems program.

It says a drone could have helped in at least 150 situations over the past year - including a brush fire at Walnut Creek Park and overturned tanker trucks carrying hazardous materials.

Flying a drone first can keep emergency crews from having to rush into harm’s way.

“We could easily get the drone up in the air and take a look at the scope of the incident,” says Shawn Maddox, the ACFR assistant fire marshal. “Or we can look for a kayaker that's on the river, perhaps. Or if we had a hazardous material release in the river, we can see just how far the sheen has gotten or what's being impacted.”

Crutchfield Corporation is donating a $1,600 drone to the department to get the program started.

The department plans to train six fire and rescue responders to become certified Federal Aviation Administration pilots.