SPOKANE, Wash. --- Washington wildfire season officially started this weekend and the Spokane Fire Department is preparing by adding three new drones to the team in June.
Spokane will become the only city in the Northwest to use drones.
The drones will be used for specific, important purposes.
On April 12, rescuers scrambled to save a suicidal man from the banks of the Spokane River. Tedious time and effort was spent locating this man, something that firefighters say would not have been the case if they had a drone.
When Spokane Fire Department receives the three drones, water rescue will be one of the key emergencies where drones will be used.
Firefighters will also use drones when responding to hazmat situations, where firefighters need to quickly scope out escalating situations, such as the 2015 Pacific Steel and Recycling emergency.
For the best possible response, firefighters told 2 On Your Side that each drone will be tailored to a specific type of emergency.
One drone will be meant for fires while the other two drones will respond exclusively to rescues and hazmat calls.
Spokane Fire Department said that existing pilots will operate the drones. Pilots started training this week.
Spokane Fire Department said that a federal grant is covering the cost of the three drones at $28,000.
The drones will be in service at the start of the summer.