The Errington Volunteer Fire Department has received a much-needed donation to help their Drone Project get off the ground.
The owners of Yates Memorial Services, Barry and Rae Tuck, presented the leading proponent of the project, Michael Love, a $4,500 cheque on Saturday, Feb. 5.
Love said the donation is a significant boost, as it pushed them beyond their targeted fundraising goal and made the project a reality.
“We can help not just our department but the whole community,” said Love. “We’re the only one on the Island, other than Victoria, that’s going to have this program in place. It’s going to help neighbouring communities. We can help out whether it’s in Nanaimo, Courtenay or in a river.”
Love, who has been flying drones for four years, and fellow firefighter Tyrone Heigh have been honing their piloting skills. He said it will be a vital tool that will help keep firefighters safe.
“There’s a few times we could use an eye-in-the-sky to see what’s going on in a fire scene or searching for people,” said Love. “So why can’t we introduce this to the fire department?”
The total cost of the drone is just more than $9,600. It’s a small and portable unit but has all the capabilities of a larger drone. It includes thermal imaging, infrared and zoom capabilities. It also includes attachments such as a spotlight, speaker and a light beacon.
Barry Tuck said the donation is their way of being part of the community and helping good causes for the benefit of everyone.
“We have staff here that lives in the community,” he said. “In a sense, we serve the community but I think it’s most important to give back to where you live. And if there’s a flow between the two, I think that’s the most important thing. It is a cause that touched us and we want to contribute back.”