Champaign Fire Department to use unmanned aerial systems

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CHAMPAIGN, Ill. (WAND) - The Champaign Fire Department has announced it is planning on utilizing unmanned aerial systems in a variety of emergency situations.

Fire Department officials say they are sending eight firefighters to Parkland College to receive pilot training and Federal Aviation Administration certification.  Additionally, the firefighters will participate in hands-on training prior to using drones during actual emergencies.

To help the Champaign Fire Department in this effort, Horizon Hobby donated two drones for use in emergencies.  Various instances where these devices could be used include during hazardous materials response, natural disasters, water and ice rescues, large fires, and live fire training exercises.

Fire officials say they hope to begin using unmanned aerial systems on actual emergencies by January 2018.

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