Wrightsville Beach groups step up for drone camera

Thanks to financial backing from two local groups, the Wrightsville Beach Fire Department has a new high-tech tool to help them perform their duties.

The Wrightsville Beach Foundation and the Wrightsville Beach Volunteer Firefighters Association have donated funds to help the department purchase a new infrared thermal imaging camera for their unmanned aerial vehicle (UAV), sometimes commonly called a drone. According to firefighter Sam Proffitt, who helped the WBFD acquire the UAV last fall, the new camera will be especially useful during emergency calls that happen at night.

“We will basically be utilizing the infrared camera for any type of nighttime operations – missing swimmers, missing persons, structure fires, that sort of thing,” said Proffitt, who added that the UAV could be launched more quickly and efficiently than a helicopter. “For example, the heat-seeking sensors will be

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