Autel EVO I donated to the East Great Plain Volunteer Fire Department in Norwich

On Monday, an Autel Evo I drone was donated to the East Great Plain Volunteer Fire Department in Norwich, CT. The drone was donated by Autel Robotics and FoxFury Lighting to the National Public Safety Drone Donation Program, which in turn donated the equipment to the fire department.

Update: an earlier version of this article referred to an Autel EVO II, whereas it is an Autel EVO I instead.

Autel EVO I donated to the East Great Plain Volunteer Fire Department in Norwich

So far the program has donated 22 drones to first responders around the country, according to Marc Langley, who started the program. The first drone in Connecticut was donated to West Hartford, and the third one will soon be donated to West Haven, he said.

East Great Plain Fire Chief Keith Milton had found out about the drone donation program through an email from the Connecticut Fire Academy and applied for a drone in November 2018.

The drone is outfitted with a spotlight for nighttime operations, Milton said. He expects that the drone will be very helpful in responding to fires, to provide an aerial perspective to firefighters, during search and rescue missions, and for water-based incidents in the Norwich Harbor or local rivers, reports The Day.

And while the drone was donated to East Great Plain, the unmanned aircraft will be available to any of the city’s fire departments as well as the police, according to Milton.

Assistant Fire Chief Joseph Jackson and Firefighter Matthew Madore from the East Great Plain already have their part 107 certificate from the Federal Aviation Administration, and they will help train other department members, Milton said.

“We will reach out to other departments to see if they want to be trained on using it,” Milton said.

“If it saves one injury,” Langley said during Monday’s presentation, “then it pays for itself. And we hope it brings value to your department.”

Roughly three months ago the Chelsea Fire Department in Birmingham, Alabama received drone grant from the National Public Safety Drone Donation Program as well.

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Haye Kesteloo

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