The Wichita Falls Fire Department has three new pieces of equipment that could save lives, according to the fire chief.

The 100 Club recently gave the department their third thermal imaging camera, which helps see through the smoke during search and rescue situations.

With the help of a grant, the department also got two drones — both worth more than $7,000 each.

“But when we see something like this with a relatively low cost, that could save lives – potentially save lives – it’s worth every penny of it, and we’re just grateful to receive the grants,” Fire Chief, Jon Reese, said.

One has a thermal imaging camera that can be used in missing person or certain HAZMAT situations, and the other drone has a high definition video camera. 

“If we have a missing person – say a child missing – we can launch this up. We can send the bird out and start looking …. like in fields or behind houses,” Reese said.

A drone took flight to aid firefighters battling a blaze in Clay County a few weeks ago.

“Just this last weekend, at the Ashley Furniture three-alarm fire, we were able to launch the aircraft, go up and survey the rooftop to make sure it was safe before we put up firefighters on,” Reese said.

Reese said the drones are officially registered with the FAA and they abide by certain restrictions.

They will also send four fire fighters for specialized drone training in the Metroplex soon.

(Information from