Bossier City Fire Department looking at new bomb, drone technology

Bossier City Fire Department wants drone, new gear for bomb squad

BOSSIER CITY, LA (KSLA) - Bossier City Fire Department officials are looking at some new technology to help keep you safe.

They are asking the City Council to approve the purchase of new bomb squad equipment and a new drone.

The items will cost $300,000, to come from the 2018 EMS Capital and Contingency Fund.

The Fire Department wants to update the bomb X-ray equipment it uses. The current technology takes about 15 minutes to develop an X-ray.

Fire Chief Brad Zagone wants the city to buy equipment that can work in 30 seconds. He says the FBI used something similar at the Miss America pageant.

"Time is of the essence in a bomb situation," the fire chief said. "So the quicker we can get it developed and X-rayed and all that and understand what we are dealing with, or if we are dealing with anything, the better off we are."

Zagone also is asking to buy an explosives containment device, which the department does not have.

Such vessels are able to hold in explosions and fragments as well as any radiation.

"It may not be the ideal situation where we can just do a disruptor or something like that. We may need to contain it," the fire chief explained.

Outside of the bomb squad, the Fire Department also wants to improve the way it maps flooding. So officials are asking the City Council for a Lidar drone.

That type of drone differs from what the department has.

It uses lasers to create 3-D image of levees and floodways.

So instead of evacuating thousands of homes during flooding, authorities would be able to better tell exactly what will flood.

"So by having a 3-D image of the floodway, we'll actually know that the water will store on these two streets and just evacuate these two streets and everyone else can stay," GIS coordinator Aaron de Bray explained.

The fire chief says it's all about being prepared just in case the worst happens.

"They are all tools in a toolbox. You never know what you are going to need until you get there. And then you have your tools available to pull out in your emergency," Zagone said.

"We can't be behind the eight ball in the event of an emergency. We need to be ahead of the game and know what to do to keep citizens safe. I think citizens expect that of us. And I like to be on the cutting edge and stay ahead of the game instead of behind it."

City Council members are expected to vote on the Fire Department's requests when they meet at 3 p.m. Tuesday.

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