Sturgeon Bay Fire Department Buying a New Drone

The Sturgeon Bay Fire Department (SBFD) is getting an upgrade for its drone program that has been in place for the past five years.

On Tuesday, the Common Council approved a Finance/Purchasing and Building Committee recommendation to purchase a replacement drone from Titletown Drones in Suamico for $17,971, and to allow spending up to an additional $1,000 for a monitor and additional operational accessories.

Because the SBFD was able to secure two grants totaling $6,250, fire chief Tim Dietman said the overall fiscal impact will be $12,721. 

He said the department’s 2024 capital budget included $18,750 for the upgrade/replacement of the current drone, which will continue to be used for training purposes and to respond to minor incidents.

Unlike the department’s existing drone, the DJI Matrice 30T model being purchased will be able to operate in inclement weather, such as during rain or snow and while experiencing winds as strong as 40 mph.

“Typically we were out in crummy, crappy weather, but we have a tool that we can utilize and be successful with,” Deitman said.

Dietman said the new drone features a thermal-imaging camera to detect hot spots in a fire and has high resolution video capability, along with having a better global positioning system (GPS) than the drone it is replacing.

“The drone program was implemented to assist firefighters and police officers in areas that drones could assess without placing a first responder in harm’s way, providing a safer work environment,” he said.

Dietman said the police department also has a drone similar to the one the SBFD has had, so a police officer could also operate the drone when both departments respond to a scene.

He said the new drone, which he expects to serve the SBFD for the next five years, also has a one-year full replacement warranty.

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