Rockland City Council asked to accept drone for fire department

By Stephen Betts | Sep 05, 2018

Rockland — The Rockland City Council is being asked to accept the donation of a drone for the fire department.

Fire Chief Christopher Whytock made a presentation Wednesday evening, Sept. 5, to the City Council about possible uses for the drone.

A person has offered to donate money to the city so it can purchase an unmanned aircraft system. The chief said the identity of the donor is not being released. The value of the donation is slightly more than $24,000.

The drone could be used for a variety of activities, including search and rescue, checking out woods and grass fires, marine emergencies, including checking on anyone injured on the Rockland Breakwater, overseeing hazardous material spill incidents, and providing protection for mass gatherings, such as the Maine Lobster Festival.

The device would not be used for surveillance, nor would it be used for suspected criminal activity, Whytock said.

The unmanned aircraft would only be used with the approval of the fire chief or his designee and the Knox County Emergency Management Agency director or his designee. Approval from both would be required for the device to fly, the chief said.

The staff of the fire department would receive pilot training.

Mayor Valli Geiger asked that a vote on the issue be held off until October to allow the city time to review what other communities have done. The council's regular meeting that month is Wednesday, Oct. 10.

In Maine, the York County EMA department has a drone, the chief said.

Comments (2)
Posted by: Richard McKusic, Sr. | Sep 08, 2018 09:33

Sewer lines not done on Main Street so the road can be repaired  by the state. Another year without work being done on Rockland roads where money was allocated in bonds years ago. Did we get the wrong city manager who is continuing business as usual? No wonder no one wants to run for office.

Posted by: Stephen K Carroll | Sep 08, 2018 09:05

$24,000 for a drone ?  I can get one at Best Buy for $129.   Come on folks what happened the toilets at the breakwater thing didn't work out ?  Wealthy benefactor, if you have money burning a hole in your pocket, I can think of a lot more useful stuff.

If you wish to comment, please login.