WHERE: Bauman Dr, Doolittle, MO 65401, USA
WHEN: November, 2022
We are a small 100% volunteer fire department located in western Phelps County, Missouri. We cover 130 square miles of Interstate 44, approximately 30,000 acres of Mark Twain National Forest, approximately 22 miles of waterway, 20 miles of remote natural gas pipeline, and 15 miles of railway. Our particular section of I-44 is known to be the most deadly section of I-44 in the United States due to the hilly terrain and curves. Each year we respond to over 100 vehicle crashes on I-44 alone. Several of these contain hazardous materials and the drone can be used to survey the area without putting personnel in harm’s way. With the National Forest, there are miles of hiking and horseback trails that are heavily used throughout the entire year. Each year, we respond to several missing person calls within the MTN Forest.
Also with the MTN Forest comes natural cover fires that can grow to hundreds of acres. Although this is considered federal land, our department is first due to all incidents within the area. A drone can be used to help locate missing people and to give us a bird’s eye view of the fires. In regards to the waterways we cover, the drone can be used to help locate missing or overdue boaters or floaters. In regards to the railway system in our district, parts of the system is what is considered “mountainous terrain” and very remote. This means that it can only be reached by either foot or a rail vehicle. The potential for a derailment is very high. In regards to the natural gas pipeline, the pipeline runs directly through our district and straight through parts of the MTN Forest. Most of the pipeline is extremely remote and can only be reached by foot or sometimes a UTV/ATV. The drone could prove useful in the event of a rupture or some other type of event to evaluate the situation. On top of helping not only our district, a drone would be beneficial to other fire departments in the region. 90% of fire departments in Region I (our mutual aid region within Missouri) are 100% volunteers and are unable to purchase a drone due to budget constraints like ourselves. This drone program would be a regional program.
In January 2022 the Doolittle Rural Fire Protection District made an application for a drone donation through the National Public Safety Drone Donation Program. NPS DDP.org Although the Phelps County Sheriff’s Department is outside of Drone Assist Indiana’s mission support area NPS DDP and Drone Assist Indiana partnered together for this drone donation Drone Assist Indiana’s mission to support communities through drone search and rescue for those with special needs can lead to new opportunities such as this partnership. Founders of Drone Assist Indiana, Steven, and Lorie Graves have close ties to the Phelps County community having previously lived in Phelps County and worked alongside local first responders Steven and Lorie who met while living in Rolla currently reside in Indiana Having family in the community and a grandson who has been diagnosed with autism makes our donations to Phelps County special to us. We feel with our previous drone donation to PCSD and the history of individuals who have went missing or have run away in the area, this donation of a drone would be extremely beneficial to the community Because of this
Doolittle Rural Fire is receiving a drone donation from Drone Assist Indiana, CEO and Founder, Steven Graves Drone Assist Indiana is a local Indiana nonprofit dedicated to supplying equipment and pilots to help locate at-risk individuals who have become lost or may have run away. We help search for individuals, such as those who may have special needs or those on the autism spectrum This drone donation and equipment provided to the Doolittle Rural Fire Protection District including lighting donated by Fox Fury Lighting Solutions an Apple iPad ( and Nanuk Hard Case, is over $ 2,000 in value. Drone lifesaving technology has proven to be a valuable asset to departments all over the United States and is sure to help save lives, property, and injury This will be the 45th drone donation made by NPS DDP.org and 3 rd donation with Drone Assist Indiana since the foundation was established.
The board of directors of the National Public Safety Drone Donation Program NPS DDP.org is proud to have the support of Mr. Steven Graves and his foundation (Drone Assist Indiana) We are excited to have him as an active board member that shares the same vision to help put “eyes in the sky for every department in need” Public safety departments nationally may apply to receive a UAV/drone and innovative hardware and software at no cost or obligation to the department with no strings attached.