As drones begin to take off in industries ranging from mining to building inspection, they’ve become particularly relevant in emergency response departments, which are putting UAVs to work saving lives.

Drone Insurance Depot is particularly proud of our sponsorship of North Shore Rescue’s drone program. As one of the busiest search and rescue organizations in Canada, they are just beginning to explore how drone tech might be useful in their important work.

But they aren’t the only ones. Over on the east coast, Canada’s oldest fire department, Halifax Regional Fire & Emergency, is looking into the newest technology for themselves.

On December 9, Halifax Regional Fire & Emergency (HRFE) held its first drone training, provided byAerovision Canada, a UAV operator specializing in aerial photography and videography for inspection, mapping, 3D modeling, thermal imaging and more. Twenty firefighters have been undergoing an intense, hands-on 5 day training.

As you might have guessed, thermal imaging is particularly important for the kinds of missions the HRFE will use the drones for.

“The thermal imaging camera is one of the best tools we ever had at a fire, but all we have now are the ones who are handheld, so it will be very advantageous for us to have eyes in the sky to be able to predict fire spread,” said District’s Captain Jim Sutherland in an interview with Global News.

Identifying hotspots or unidentified products in the fire isn’t the only use the drones could have. UAVs might also be used in surveying scenes, and assessing the structural stability of buildings before firefighters enter.

The HRFE isn’t getting a regulatory pass for their operations, either. “We followed every standard the Canadian government has,” Divisional Commander Chuck Bezanson told Global News.

The HRFE is expected to be using the drones this month, January 2017.