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Halton Hills sets sights on sky with high-tech drone
Funding from Terra Cotta Cookie Co. makes drone dream a reality
Emergency responders in Halton Hills will have the ability to take to the skies should the situation require it. The Town is unanimously approved the purchase of a drone for the Halton Hills fire department.
A donation from the Terra Cotta Cookie Co. will provide a portion of the necessary funds for the purchase of a specialized drone for the Halton Hills Fire Department.
Jason Brass, president of the Terra Cotta Cookie Co., told council at the Nov. 11 meeting that he had read the town borrowed a drone (formally known as a Remotely Piloted Aircraft System or RPAS) from Brampton during an ice jam that led to flooding in Glen Williams earlier this year
“When I was a boy my birth father, Paul Bozinoff, was killed in a car accident in Orangeville,” Brass said. “My birth father was a firefighter in York region. Since his death, I have been looking for a way to honour his memory in a meaningful way, in a way that would help others.”
Emergency services employed the drone to locate the source of the ice jam in a matter of hours, something ground attempts had been unsuccessful to accomplish for weeks.
“We found something we could do, and hopefully this donation pushes that over the edge,” Brass said.
Town staff will authorize the purchase of a DJI Matrice 210 V2 drone for the Halton Hills fire department from a budget of $56,072.81, including the $15,000 donated from Terra Cotta Cookie Co.
The drone has a range of seven kilometres with a maximum flight time of 38 minutes, and the ability to navigate strong winds and inclement weather.
Newly-introduced technology for the drone includes a heated battery that would improve the drone’s function in sub-zero conditions.
The drone will officially be named ‘Cookie’ in honour of the Terra Cotta Cookie Company. During the council meeting, the Halton Hills fire department also presented Brass with a Halton Hills fire helmet with his father’s name engraved onto it.
Currently, drone operators must be certified — the Halton Hills fire department has a certified RPAS pilot, with more certified pilots anticipated in coming years.