New technology to help emergency crews respond at night

BOTETOURT COUNTY, Va. (WDBJ7)-- In Botetourt County, new technology is helping first responders see in the dark.

Botetourt County recently received a waiver allowing emergency crews to fly drones at night.

Before, the devices could only help respond to emergency calls during the day.

The new drone can detect heat and thermal energy, which will help with search and rescue efforts, as well as give crews a better picture of future wildfires, Emergency Manager Daniel Murray said.

“This is just simply another tool in our toolbox that we can use to keep our responders out of harm’s way and to give us a larger, calmer operating picture,” Murray said. “So when we do send our responders down, we know what we are getting into.”

Since the county’s drone program began two years ago, crews have responded to dozens of calls with this new technology. Now, they hope the thermal images will make their response times even quicker.

Copyright 2020 WDBJ7. All rights reserved.