Social Media Post Generates Interest in Sheriff's Resources

NEWS RELEASE #: 16-089

A recent social media post by the Sarasota County Sheriff's Office that depicts Air-1 assisting the North Port Fire Department in response to a brush fire has prompted interest in the Aviation Unit's latest and greatest resource – the Bambi Bucket.

The 2005 Bell 407 single engine helicopter known as "Air-1" is regularly requested by local city and county agencies for search and rescue missions, surveillance patrol and thanks to the Bambi Bucket, firefighting efforts. The sheriff's office acquired the 91-pound bucket in 2012 and has deployed it nearly 700 times since then, dropping a total of 112,065 gallons of water. Pilots attach the bucket to the helicopter via a cargo hook on the underside of the aircraft. It is capable of holding up to 210 gallons of water at a time. The Bambi Bucket extends 15' below the body of the helicopter making water retrieval a seamless process.

"We're very pleased to offer this resource to Sarasota County's citizens," said Sheriff Tom Knight. "The Bambi Bucket is a great asset and has proven its value on more than one occasion. As summer begins, we hope brush fires won't be an issue but if they are, the sheriff's office will be ready to respond."

The sheriff's office reminds residents that while brush fires may seem unavoidable, there are several small steps everyone can take to help protect people and property. Consider the following:

- Never leave a fire unattended.
- Store and use flammable liquids properly.
- Keep branches and shrubs far away from gas grills and other sources of heat.
- Keep roofs and gutters free of leaves and other debris which can create a fire hazard.
- Do not throw lit cigarettes from a vehicle. It is a violation of the law and can create a fire in the median/roadway which can lead to traffic issues and crashes.

A video of the Bambi Bucket in action can be viewed on the sheriff's office YouTube channel: