The Errington Volunteer Fire Department received a much-needed donation to help its 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 Tucks’ donation is a significant boost, as it pushed the fire department beyond its fundraising target and made the project a reality.
“We can help not just our department but the whole community. We’re the only on the Island, other than Victoria, that’s going to have this program in place. It’s going to help neighbouring communities,” said Love, mentioning that the drone program may be able to assist in Nanaimo and Courtenay, for example.
Love, who has been flying drones for four years now, and fellow firefighter Tyrone Heigh have been honing their piloting skills. He said the drone 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 approximately $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.”