$108K grant to fund robot for Peoria fire-medical


The Peoria Fire-Medical Department will receive a $108,000 grant from the Tohono O’odham Nation for the purchase of a mission critical emergency response robot, according to city officials.

It is the department’s first technology of this kind.

The city council approved the acceptance of the grant, Nov. 12.

City Manager Jeff Tyne said this council and prior councils have worked hard to foster a relationship with the Tohono O’odham Nation, and this grant further solidifies the relationship.

“This is important safety-enhancing equipment now available to the department thanks to this grant,” he said.

The Tohono O’odham Nation uses a portion of its annual 12% local revenue-sharing contribution to be used for services that benefit the general public, such as fire and other public safety services.

The robot is remote controlled, has the ability to open doors, carry meter equipment, equipped with multiple camera options, maneuverable through rugged terrain, and can travel up to 3,300 feet from the operator.

Fire Chief Bobby Ruiz said the emergency response robot will be used for the department’s hazardous materials incident response team for deployment during hazardous incidents. The purpose of the robot is to keep members of the department out of dangerous areas, he said.

“The police department bomb squad has one. We can use ours for hazardous materials incidents, meter areas for poisonous gases and keep people out of harm’s way,” Mr. Ruiz said. “You can actually put a key on one of its arms and open a door using the cameras on it, if there are keys available. If not we would have to do it the old fashioned way.”

Philip Haldiman can be reached at 623-876-3697, phaldiman@newszap.com, or on Twitter @philiphaldiman.