Texas city approves first responders’ use of drones

Tyler officials voted to allow Phirst Technologies to test its automated drone first response system


TYLER, Texas — City officials voted to allow a technology company to test a drone system that could be used by first responders.

KLTV reported that Phirst Technologies will conduct testing of its automated drone first response system, which could be dispatched by 911 operators.

“It can get there and give eyes on the scene and real quickly decide if it [is] just black smoke coming from a diesel truck or is that a real fire and how many trucks does the fire department need to get there,"  Phirst Technologies staff member Phil Burks said. “The bird will take off, it’ll go to the scene and the ... visual camera, [and] the thermal camera will come back over a wireless network.”

Phirst Technologies will conduct testing of its automated drone first response system, which could be dispatched by 911 operators. (Photo/Phirst Technologies)
Phirst Technologies will conduct testing of its automated drone first response system, which could be dispatched by 911 operators. (Photo/Phirst Technologies)

The drone could also be used in rescues.

“These drones can be a game changer for locating someone who may be lost in a field or a child that’s wandered off from their parent," Tyler Fire Department Chief David Coble said.

Coble said that if the program goes as expected, 10 drones will be stationed in the county through a lease program with Phirst Technologies.

 

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