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The Billings Police and Fire Department test their new drones



Billings, Montana – In order to launch the city’s public safety drone program, the Billings Fire Department’s HAZMAT team requested $300,000 in funding from FEMA and the Department of Homeland Security in 2018. BFD finally acquired the funding to buy brand-new, cutting-edge drones Thursday after waiting four years for it.

Although the fire department has used drones in the past, according to BFD Engineer Mark Soulberg, the new ones have superior cameras and will operate more effectively in the field.

“It’s a force multiplier for us, we are sometimes resource-limited on big incidents, and by using one of these drones behind me we are able to get a better size of what’s going on, we can keep track of our people, we can identify needs and respond to them more quickly,” said Soulberg.

The drones will be available to the Billings Fire Department, Police Department, and City Public Works. Six fire departments in that state, including Billings, each received $50,000 through a Homeland Security grant to pay for drones, training, and pilot certification.


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