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Rescue squad taking donations for thermal imaging drone


SALYERSVILLE – After trying to find funding through grants and other programs, the Magoffin County Rescue Squad is now asking for the community’s help in raising the funds for a thermal imaging drone.

Magoffin County Rescue Squad Captain Carter Conley told the Independent they have exhausted nearly every option for funding they can find, and though they still plan to apply for more grants, the longer it takes to secure the funding for an infrared drone, that is simply time the community goes without a very useful, lifesaving tool.

“By having a camera with thermal imaging, it can find heat through leaf foliage, giving us an idea of what’s on the ground in a much quicker time than doing a foot search,” Conley said. “This is a vital piece of equipment we really need.”

Conley explained that in cases of missing children or elderly people, especially during excessively hot or cold months, the situation can get very dangerous within minutes, but thermal imaging drones can cut invaluable time from the search length.

“One time we answered a mutual aid call for a missing elderly man,” Conley remembers. “They told us the path he used to take on the farm and we had our drone up in the air, but the foliage was too thick. When they found him, our drone was right above his head, but we couldn’t see him. We could have found him in 10 minutes with thermal imaging.”

Conley also noted that grants for rescue squads are very competitive and have to be shared between over 100 rescue squads in the state, so funding is limited for special projects like these, leaving them around $10,000 shy of being able to purchase a thermal imaging drone.

“We’re going to try to apply, again, in the fall when it comes available, but we need this equipment now so someone’s life isn’t caught in the middle of this,” Conley said. “We could find missing children, people with special needs, dementia and Alzheimer’s patients, and the elderly. I was a case manager for a home care program and during that time I saw so many of these cases. They can be gone for minutes and it be life-threatening. Minutes. We just want to find them quicker and get them safely back home.”

People wanting to donate that have an account through Salyersville National Bank can contact the bank and have them transfer the donation from their account to the Magoffin County Rescue Squad’s account. Conley asked that they specify the donation for the drone or special project so they can keep the money separate in their account until they can buy the drone.

Donations can also be dropped off at the Magoffin County Rescue Squad building, located at the intersection of Church Street, KY Rt. 7 and Parkway Drive. Donations can be made anonymously or in honor of someone, Conley noted. 


Heather Oney

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