Apparatus & Equipment

Volunteer Firefighter Builds Drones in Spare Time

Brookings Fire Chief Darrell Hartmann with the F-450 Quadcopter

Source: 3M Newsroom

Meet the Firefighting Drone. It’s only 2 by 2 feet, and it’s this fire chief’s secret weapon in fighting fires.

Brookings (SD) Fire Chief Darrell Hartmann says you can call it a drone, but it’s officially known as the F-450 Quadcopter. It flies over fires to offer a bird’s-eye view. Then it transmits pictures back to firefighters on the ground to help them predict the direction of the fires, which are infinitely unpredictable. “We’ve had fires,” says Darrell, “that we didn’t know where they were going.”

“We’re able to move quicker and see the dangers that we normally wouldn’t be able to see,” added Hartmann.

It almost didn’t happen. Darrell couldn’t afford the $15,000-$50,000 it would cost for a model that would help his team. Volunteer firefighter Arend Schuurman knew he could help. His day job is as a quality control technician for 3M Critical and Chronic Care in Brookings. He started building it in his personal time, and a year later, Arend delivered a hand-made drone for the fire department.

“Arend went well above and beyond. We would not have been able to pull this off without him.”

More information: http://www.3m.com/