Drone Helps Fire Fighters, Gives Birds Eye View

Members of the Clovis Fire Department are getting some much-needed help in determining if a fire damaged building is safe to enter, thanks to a high tech device.

Drone pilot, Chris Geiger says, "As a pilot I really enjoy flying. As a professional photographer I love shooting and this seems like a natural connection between those two."

With the help of his drone with a camera tied to it, fire fighters are able to look over Geiger's shoulder and determine if in fact a structure is safe.

Clovis Fire Public Information Officer Chad Fitzgerald says, "It gives us a unique 360 view, if we have to send crews in to do some mop up or retrieve some personal effects for a resident. We can add an element of safety assurance by adding that asset."

Fire crews say the camera also serves another purpose. Any fire fighter that is not at the fire can watch the video and use it for training.

Currently, Geiger is volunteering his time purely as a hobby.

However, could he make a profit as a drone pilot? Not exactly!

Members of the Federal Aviation Administration say, "if you are taking video for your own personal use (including youtube) and you're not going to do anything else with it, and you adhere to model aircraft guidelines, you're okay."

However, "you cannot sell the video, and you can not take money for shooting the video."

At least at this time, using an unmanned aerial system for commercial purposes is illegal.

Nevertheless, Geiger says If that ever changes the sky will be the limit for his drones and his income.