Getting New Drone Programs for Firefighters Off the Ground: Inside a Public Safety Training Event

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Public safety organization are one of the fastest growing verticals in the drone industry.  With the clear benefits of using aerial technology for public safety applications including search and rescue, suspect pursuit, accident reconstruction, and fire management, agencies all over the globe are implementing drone programs.

Public Safety professionals, however, have special certifications and training: and they often can’t hire a licensed drone operator to fly for them.  Getting a public safety drone program off the ground can be difficult, as a wide variety of personnel need to receive training on a wide variety of tools.  It’s an additional challenge for a profession that works under tight public budgets and tight timelines.

In California, Enterprise UAS collaborated with partners from drone industry players including DJI Enterprise, FLIR sUAS, and GoProfessional Cases to host a two-day drone training event for public safety agencies.  “Over 95 attendees from approximately thirty different firefighting and law enforcement agencies were in attendance from all over California,” says Nicole Villegas of Enterprise UAS.

We got an insider look at the event, which was organized in a circuit format, Villegas explains.    “The event was organized in a circuit training format. Attendees were divided into smaller groups and rotated between field training stations and classrooms over the course of two days. ”

Drones and Payloads

Activities included hands-on training exercises, including :

As drone pilots know, however, just learning to fly a mission is only part of the process.  In addition, the training event covered technology tools for air space intelligence and data processing:

“We Need These Tools”

The reactions of the participants make the value of these training events clear.  “My experience has been extremely positive. I got a lot of ammunition that I can take back to our people to be able to really drive home the point that we need this technology. We need these tools in our day to day,”said Steve Johnson, Bodega Bay Fire Protection District

“We were able to come and not only checkout stuff that we’ve seen before, or even have, but also experience new technology as well as learn more about the products we already have. Which was not only great, but surprising to us,” said Christian Maser, California Department of Corrections and Rehabilitation.


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