Firefighters use drones for investigations

ROCKFORD, Ill. (WIFR) -- Rockford's Fire Department is one of the first Fire Departments in the country to use drone technology to help with controlling fires and investigating them afterwards.

"It's just information. It's data that can be used to spread information a little easier," says Rockford Fire Leutenant, Trevor Hogan, who is trained in the use of drone technology.

"It can stitch together a live map while you're flying it, so basically you can have a damage assessment almost immediately available after flying it over a large area," says Hogan.

"Because of the severity of the fire, we didn't go inside of those fires, but we were able to use the footage from the drones to make better decisions to see what has collapsed, what hasn't, what is in tack, what isn't," says Rockford Fire Department's Coordinator of Fire Prevention, Tim Morris.

After recording footage, Firefighters then use their footage to make 3-D models of fire scenes.

"It can be utilized 1. For public relations purposes to show people truly how fires react and here's how it really happened, and 2. For court purposes to show the jurors to explain our case of how it actually happened - whether it be accidental or arson," says Morris.

Morris says the Fire Department mainly uses this technology for large building fires like the recent Hanley Building and the two fires in vacant buildings on 7th St. in downtown Rockford.

All three of those fires are still under investigation.

"You're just collecting information/data that can be used at many different stages of the fire. Information can be used to keep people safer, firefighters safer," says Hogan.