UTICA – The Utica Fire Department has acquired a new state of the art drone and more radios after receiving a grant from the Illinois Department of Commerce and Economic Opportunity. It was announced that the $59,212 funding was used to purchase a DJI M-300 drone and four Motorola APX8000 dual-band radios. The drone has a 55-minute flight time and carries a thermal camera, 20 times optical zoom camera and a laser rangefinder.
“This grant dramatically improves our response capabilities at Starved Rock State Park and surrounding parks” said Utica Fire Chief Ben Brown.
The four Motorola radios can communicate with ValCom and with the Illinois State Police and Illinois Conservation Police who utilize the Starcom radio network. According to Brown, the drone will be made available to all agencies across the state and will reduce the time needed to locate missing individuals at the park.
State Senator Sue Rezin assisted in securing the grant funding for the fire district.
“The Utica Fire Protection District plays a vital role for both Starved Rock and its local community,” said Sen. Rezin. “The equipment bought with this grant money will help the Utica Fire District better protect our communities.”