November 2022 | Wester Berks Fire Department (PA)

November 2022 | Wester Berks Fire Department (PA)


We are excited to announce our Agency Success Story recipient for November 2022.

Congratulations to the Western Berks Fire Department (PA) and their UAS Resource for #SavingLivesWithDrones.

In the early evening on September 10th, 2021, the Western Berks Fire Department UAS resource was requested to assist a neighboring community in Marion Township Berks County PA with the search of a elderly man with dementia who had wandered off from his caretakers. For the WBFD this was our first emergency deployment for our newly acquired drone (DJI M300 H20T) which had only been in service a few weeks at the time of the incident.

A two man crew from the WBFD arrived on scene and met with the incident commander. Our drone was assigned to search an area of interest which happened to be near 100 acres of cornfield. The drone began to search the fields and surrounding farm buildings from above. After 20 minutes of methodically searching with our thermal camera it indicated a hot spot from 350’ AGL. The pilot began to descend to check into the heat source. Upon descending and utilizing thermal/zoom camera we were able to quickly confirm the positive identification of the individual. Crews were able to advise the IC and provide the location to ground teams who made their way to the subject.

Within 30 minutes of our arrival, the drone was landing and our UAS program was off the ground just like that. With being the first public safety agency in our county to really adopt and integrate high tech drone technology, the rescue was instrumental in kick staring our program to what we thought was unattainable heights very quickly. Residents, emergency service personnel, and government officials took notice and quickly realized the value of this specialized piece of equipment for high risk incidents. Since the launch of our drone program we have been requested for over 30 emergency incidents in 3 counties consisting of 18 different municipalities, with additional positive identifications and successful missions. The UAS resource has been used in many different applications from fire incidents, missing person searches, Police incidents, SWAT details and everything in between.

Great work, WBFD team, on your success story. Your story proves drones and effective operators do save lives.

Solid work! 🤜🏻🤛🏻 #AIRWORX is honored to support and serve your agency!

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📸 and Alex Lupco / WBFD