HAWTHORNE, NJ - The Hawthorne Fire Department Ladies Auxiliary will give the Thin Red Line a set of eyes in the sky.  The ladies donated $1,800.00 to purchase a drone and the Hawthorne Fire Department received a Second-Tier grant from DARTdrones, Inc.  The grant will provide training and support for two members of the department to become Federal Aviation Administration-certified drone pilots. 

"We have a fundraiser each year in case the fire department needs anything," Darlene DiLella, president of the Hawthorne Fire Department Ladies Auxiliary, told TAPinto Hawthorne.  "They were looking into getting a grant for a drone.  Two firemen will be operating the drone and get intensive training.  Whenever they need something, we try to help them out."

Fire Chief Joseph Speranza praised the Ladies Auxiliary and thanked them.  "They pulled us out of the frying pan.  We appreciate the girls for what they did."

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The drone has not yet been acquired, but the fire department is in consultation with the Paterson Fire Department to see what model of drone would work best for Hawthorne's needs.  "We will be using it for pre-planning, drills, training, we could use it to help with missing children."  The chief does not anticipate the drone being used during an active fire, although it could have applications for rooftop observations.  Speranza echoed DiLella in saying that the firemen will be receiving significant training for the drone's operation.

Hawthorne's future piece of sophisticated flying hardware will give the firefighters another tool for keeping the borough safe.  "First thing is to get competent using it, we'll have a very strong protocol," Speranza said.  "This is not a toy; it's very capable of doing good things for the fire department."


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