KCBS_740 MENLO PARK (KCBS) — After recently receiving FAA approval to fly drones, the Menlo Park fire agency plans to pioneer the process for their use in responding to fires and other emergencies.

The chief of the Menlo Park Fire Protection District says drones will be invaluable tools in putting eyes on the situation before firefighters can get boots on the ground.

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“Searches like we just had in the Bay – we had someone jump off the Dumbarton Bridge the other day, and the family wants to find their family member. So, there’s things that we could use the drone,” Chief Harold Schapelhouman said.

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The department is among the first to get approval from the FAA to fly drones.  They plan to fly smaller drones that can even enter a building from the outside.

“That would help us, but our law enforcement officers as well to be able to see something inside of a building. It’s advantageous for both of us,” Schapelhouman said.

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The chief says the drone will not be used for any type of surveillance.