$4,500 in Thermal Drones Donated to Putnam County Fire Department

In November, 2020, two new thermal drones — due to a $4,500 donation — were given by a woman who chose to stay anonymous, for the Police and fire departments in the Town of Putnam, N.Y. These thermal drones arrived just in time for the Thanksgiving holiday as a reminder of the importance of gratitude, as expressed by Putnam Fire Chief, Bob Campbell.

This woman came by the fire department’s headquarters a couple of months earlier, with the desire to benefit the community in some way.

According to Putnam Fire Chief, Bob Campbell, the woman typically goes on a trip once a year such as a cruise or other trips, and because of the pandemic, she hasn’t been able to do so. Therefore, instead of just keeping the money, she decided to give it as a gift of gratitude to the police and fire departments. She said that she was blessed and hoped that even if her gift would only help just one person, that would make her very happy. Campbell explained, “We’re going to be working with the Police Department, but I don’t want anybody to think this is going to be spying or anything else. This is going to be for search and rescue. We have a thermal imaging camera on it. It assists at night.”*

Fire Chief, Campbell considered how the generous gift of $4,500 could be used most strategically and decided to purchase the thermal drones. He envisioned how these would enable firefighters to better understand an active fire better and make it possible for better planning in attacking a fire. He pointed to the large mill complexes that the town already has, and how these drones would aid their efforts in fighting fires.

According to Campbell, the thermal camera on the drones will be indispensable in search and rescue operations involving vehicular accidents near the woods where unconscious victims would be in grave danger unless rescued within a reasonable time. The thermal option these drones provide would be able to identify the victims and their physical condition.

In addition to the two drones, the generous gift of money makes it possible to offer two firefighters from each department to receive drone training to learn to fly these thermal drones.

It is not unusual for police and fire departments around the world to increasingly use drones for search and rescue missions, to fight crime, manage fires, and improve efficiency. The following are examples:

  • Brookhaven, Georgia to respond to 911 calls with drones
  • Tasmanian government splurges on drone tech to fight crime
  • Queensland police equip motorbikes with DJI drones
  • Wisconsin Police Department implements drone technology*


The generous gift of two thermal drones to the Putnam Police and Fire Departments by a woman who wants to stay anonymous, is an example of how one humble person can make a difference! 
These advanced drones will increase the ability of the police and fire departments to effectively and efficiently be involved in search and rescue missions, in fighting crime, managing fires, and, most importantly, minimize loss of life by our brave police and firefighters as well as civilians they protect.

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