DJI and LAFD Collaborate to Bring Drones in Firefighting Mainstream- It’s Time

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Since Hurricane Harvey hit Texas with devastating results in 2017, drones have been recognized as a critical life-saving tool by government agencies, first responders, and victims.  But while emergency services is widely recognized as a growth vertical for the drone industry, the sector has lacked some of the clarity in use cases and specific tools that would allow for rapid expansion – until now.

DJI, the world’s largest drone manufacturer, has announced a partnership with the Los Angeles Fire Department (LAFD) to develop specific tools and test use cases for drones in firefighting.  It’s a partnership that could help expand drone use in emergency services – and save thousands of lives.

The following is from a DJI press release:

DJI, the world’s leader in civilian drones and aerial imaging technology, today announced a Solution Development Partnership with the Los Angeles Fire Department (LAFD) to create, test and deploy DJI drone technology as an emergency response and preparedness tool. The agreement marks one of DJI’s largest partnerships with a fire-fighting agency in the United States and will provide the LAFD with access to new technologies, training and support to incorporate innovative drone technology into its operations.

“We are excited to be strengthening our partnership with the LAFD, one of the nation’s preeminent public safety agencies, to help them take advantage of DJI’s drone technology that has been purpose-built for the public safety sector,” said Bill Chen, Enterprise Partnerships Manager at DJI. “Through our two-way collaboration, DJI will receive valuable insight into the complexities of deploying drones for emergency situations in one of the most complex urban environments in the nation. This insight will allow us to continue to refine and develop new technologies that will allow the LAFD and leading public safety agencies around the world to gain more value from life-saving drone technology.”

Through the agreement, the LAFD will continue to deploy and test drone technology developed by DJI for the fire and rescue service industry. To-date, the agency has flown over 175 incident-related missions using DJI’s industrial aerial platforms such as the Matrice 200 Series, Matrice 600 Series, and Phantom 4 Pro drones equipped with visual and thermal imaging cameras that provide real-time video and data transmission to incident commanders. DJI drone technology will continue to be used across a variety of situations including hot-spot identification and aerial mapping to help manage wildfire response, as well as incident response for swift water rescues, hazmat operations, and urban search and rescue missions.

“The LAFD has been working through a pragmatic approach to adopting drone technology for several years, including developing policies and procedures that define clear use case scenarios and building awareness among the general public about the positive life- and property-saving benefits drone technology can provide to our firefighters in their mission to protect the citizens of Los Angeles,” said LAFD Battalion Chief Richard Fields. “We are excited about today’s partnership with DJI because it gives the Department access to cutting edge developments from the world’s leading provider of drone technology, such as drones equipped with thermal cameras that will help give incident commanders a real-time birds-eye perspective. Combining advanced drone technology with new software tools will help bridge the gap between helicopters and firefighters on the ground, allowing us to address life-threatening situations faster and more effectively than ever before.”

“The LAFD’s growing drone program makes them part of over 910 public safety organizations across the United States that are deploying drones for life saving activities[1],” said Romeo Durscher, Director of Public Safety Integration at DJI. “While the LAFD program shows how drones can succeed when operated within expansive, urban areas by a large department, drone technology is valuable to municipalities of any size.”

Local and state government organizations looking to learn more about the latest drone deployment strategies and trends can learn more from the recent “The Day of the Drone is Here: Effectively Deploying Unmanned Aerial Technology in State and Local Government” white paper from DJI and Government Technology at: https://enterprise.dji.com/whitepaper/best-practices-in-effectively-deploying-drones-for-us-state-and-local-governments

[1]Source: Bard Center for the Study of the Drone, May 2018: https://dronecenter.bard.edu/public-safety-drones-update/

 



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