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Coffee County Rescue Squad is looking at adding to its extensive collection of lifesaving tools with a rescue drone.

“We try to stay up on the game, otherwise you’re way behind to start with,” said Chief Neal Simmons. “We feel that a drone is the next step.” 

The rescue squad officers have elected to take a percentage of the all the fundraiser money to use toward the drone. Prices range from $19,000-35,000. 

Simmons  said that four or five members intend to become FAA certified to operate the drones.

“We have the interest to do it. Now we just have to come up with the funds,” Simmons said.

The drone will be used in missing persons, lost and stalled boater rescues and even at fires to get an aerial view of the situation.

“The one we’re looking at has a camera, a FLIR (infrared camera) for night, GPS coordinates displayed, so you’ll know exactly where it’s at if it locates somebody,” Simmons said.

 Simmons said that the drone’s range is the biggest difference that an off-the-shelf personal drone. A big box store drone might be able to travel a few hundred feet, while the rescue drone will be able to cover four to five miles and stay aloft much longer.

Long term plans may include an ROV that will extend the squad’s underwater rescue capabilities. Currently the squad uses an underwater sonar system to locate drowning victims.

 

   

John has been with the Manchester Times since May 2011. He covers Lifestyles in addition to handling education reporting and general news assignments.John has won Tennessee Press Association awards for Best News Photo and placed in numerous other categories. John is a 1994 graduate of Tullahoma High School, a graduate of Motlow State Community College and earned a Bachelor of Arts in English from Middle Tennessee State University. He lives in Tullahoma, and enjoys the outdoors with his wife, Mitsy, and his 17-month-old, Sean.

Staff Writer

Download the free Manchester Times mobile app at the app store. John has won Tennessee Press Association awards for Best News Photo and placed in numerous other categories.

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