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Lynn, Mass., Fire Department Deploys New Search, Rescue Drone

A newly acquired DJI Matrice 30T thermal drone system is set to replace the drone that the department has been using since 2018. The drone will be used in locating missing persons and surveying fires.

A drone similar to this one is being used by the Lynn, Mass., Fire Department.
(TNS) — The Lynn Fire Department announced the delivery of their new Lynn Fire Air-View 1 drone on Monday, which the department intends to use to aid in locating missing persons and surveying fires.

The Air-View 1, a DJI Matrice 30T thermal drone system, will replace the drone that the department has been using since 2018. The fire department received its original drone from an anonymous donor, the Knights of Columbus, and Lynn Real Estate Developer Patrick McGrath, and with a trade-in, along with budget funds, it was able to purchase a new one.

District Chief Joseph Zukas said the camera on the new drone, which can operate at altitudes of 400 feet, is "unbelievable."

"We were training at the Lynn Woods with it and I didn't even see this drone, and the guy operating it said 'Joe, put up a couple of fingers' and it could tell me how many fingers I had up from half a mile away," Zukas said. "This drone's video could be transmitted to anybody, like the fire chief on scene, so we can send the drone up, over say a building fire, or looking for a lost person, and it sends live video to the inside commander."

Zukas said that earlier this month, the Lynn Fire Department lent their old drone to the Gloucester Fire Department to help put out a brush fire. He said that although the drone might not be helpful in extinguishing small house fires, the drone's infrared technology will be helpful in finding missing persons at night.

"There was a big brush fire up in Gloucester, and for mutual aid, they requested our drone, and we sent our drone, with a couple of operators around there," Zukas said. "For a traditional house fire, it might not have as much capability as it would for a larger fire that's been going on for a longer time, but it would be good for missing persons, like at night, if someone was in the Lynn Woods, with its infrared camera, we could easily find them with the drone."

The fact that the Lynn Fire Department is one of the first departments on the North Shore to use drone technology will be an asset for the community's safety and wellbeing, Zukas said.

"We're being innovative here in Lynn, and maybe other fire departments will follow our lead, and maybe someday in the future every department will have a drone, but for now, we're one of the first ones around to have it," Zukas said. "As these drones get cheaper in price with more capabilities, we're learning more and more things that we can do with it. This new equipment, new technology, will help the citizens of Lynn, the taxpayers' safety. I'm hoping we have no emergencies, but if we have an emergency and we can use this to help mitigate it, that's great".

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