The Mocanaqua Volunteer Fire Company (MVFC) was incorporated in 1923 and is located in Luzerne County, Pennsylvania just south of the City of Wilkes-Barre along the shores of the Susquehanna River. The Fire Company consists of 20 volunteer members providing fire and rescue services to the Townships of Conyngham, Union, and The Borough of Shickshinny. The company plays an active role in providing automatic and mutual aid to all surrounding communities. Our primary response area encompasses 32 square miles and serves a combined total of 2608 residents. Located in the Northeast our coverage area is prone to severe thunderstorms and high winds that contribute to a perfect storm for natural disasters including floods, wildfires, and snowstorms. These combined with utility infrastructure such as domestic water lines, storm drains, and electrical hazards are responsible for dozens of emergencies annually. The (MVFC) was a key asset providing initial response and mutual aid support during the response and recovery phases of Hurricanes Irene & Sandy along with tropical storm Lee which devastated our community. Our coverage area has two major roadways: US Route 11 and US Route 239. Among the myriad of normal commerce, these highways provide routing capabilities for numerous hazardous materials vehicles, and other cargo transportation. We also cover a large portion of the Norfolk Southern Rail line with continuous transportation and the use of chemicals including sulfuric and hydrochloric acids provides a unique target hazard to our community. Today our response area is the home of several parks, and recreational areas including the 3,053 acres of the Pinchot State Forest, the Mocanaqua Loop trail which the trail consists of four interconnecting looping trails that take hikers to low-lying areas, ridgetop overlooks, former coal mined areas, and natural wooded areas. The four loops combined, encompass about 15 miles this area is heavily used by 4-wheelers, dirt bikes, and rock climbers throughout the year. We can see the population of our jurisdiction double if not more on the weekends. This UAV would assist in our operations for not only firefighting but also search and rescue incidents, Haz-Mat incidents, and severe weather and natural disasters. We would like to have this UAV equipped with a thermal imagining camera, along with the capability of lifting so we fly a PFD (Personal Protective Device) to someone trapped in their home during flooding. This UAV would be available for all neighboring response agencies from Fire, EMS, and Police.
The National Public Safety Drone Donation Program / NPS-DDP.org, a prominent non-profit foundation dedicated to supporting public safety agencies, has recently orchestrated a heartening sequence of donations that underscore the strength of unity within the Public Safety community. This inspiring chain of generosity was set into motion on June 13, 2020, when Paul Vavra from the Dubois Town Fire Department selflessly contributed his personal drone to NPS-DDP.org, with the intention of aiding other departments in need.
The first ripple in this chain of goodwill materialized when NPS-DDP.org employed Paul’s personal donated drone to fulfill a request from another department, assisting them in establishing their own drone program. Paul, alongside the Dubois Town Fire Department, recognized the potential of drone technology and subsequently provided financial support to NPS-DDP.org, enabling the acquisition of additional drones through their distribution partners. This collaborative effort has led to remarkable growth and advancement within their drone program.
Approximately a year ago, the New Berlin Fire Department in Pennsylvania approached NPS-DDP.org with a drone request. Paul, who had been following NPS-DDP.org’s updates on social media, encountered this appeal and unreservedly donated his department’s H520 thermal drone through the foundation to the New Berlin Fire Department on September 6, 2022. Witnessing the tangible value of the drone, Kale Geiswite, Fire Drone Operations Manager at the New Berlin Fire Department, decided to invest in further drones from NPS-DDP.org’s partners, thereby enhancing their capabilities and expanding their drone fleet.
The cycle of giving persisted as Kale, deeply influenced by the H520 drone’s significance, was motivated to donate the same thermal imaging drone to yet another department. Stephen McDaniels of the Mocanaqua Fire Department had recently submitted an application, as evidenced in his video below. This singular drone has now made its way to three distinct departments, leaving a meaningful impact on multiple communities..
“New Berlin Fire Company is proud to support your organization and we believe in getting this life-saving technology to others to support communities. NPS-DDP .org helped us when we needed it most and allowed us to grow our program into the success it is today. We hope that the Mocanaqua Fire Dept continues to use this equipment for the greater good of the department and community.” said Kale of the New Berlin Department.
” The Mocanaqua Fire Department wants to thank Mark from NPS-DDP for helping us obtain this life-saving equipment and the New Berlin Fire Company in Union County for their donation to our organization. This project has been about four years in the making, Whether assisting in a rescue or responding to a fire, the drone will increase the level of safety for our first responders and allow us to more efficiently provide the needed emergency services” . said Chief Stephen McDaniels of the Mocanaqua Fire Department.
One of the key partners of NPS-DDP.org is Pilot Institute who also generously donated a 107 drone training class with this donation. NPS-DDP.org is very thankful to the partners that support our mission.
The generosity and dedication of the Dubois Town Fire Department, New Berlin Fire Department, and Pilot Institute, reflect the spirit of the Public Safety community and its commitment to safeguarding communities through advanced drone technology.
This heartwarming chain of donations showcases how the brotherhood within Public Safety agencies can support one another, passing on drones they no longer need, and positively impacting multiple departments. It’s truly inspiring to witness the power of unity in the NPS-DDP mission to create safer communities.
The Dubois Town Fire Department was also recognized by NPS-DDP.org, receiving an award in 2022 for providing the most donations to other departments in that year.
As NPS-DDP.org prepares to do this press release on this inspiring story, they are reminded of the profound impact that their foundation has in supporting Public Safety agencies nationwide. Their commitment to empowering departments with the latest drone technology underscores their dedication to creating a safer future for all. On behalf of the board of directors, it is an absolute privilege and honor to support public safety with these life-saving tools.
The National Public Safety Drone Donation Program is a 501(c)(3) registered non-profit foundation dedicated to supporting Public Safety agencies with advanced drone technology. With a mission to enhance safety and efficiency, NPS-DDP.org strives to provide cutting-edge drone solutions to departments in need. Through donations and partnerships, the foundation empowers agencies across the country to protect their communities using the latest drone innovations. They also support STEM education donations for older drone technology that cannot be utilized within public safety contexts