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Has Your Department Considered Using a Drone for Recon?

Read more about the use of drones below.

Check out more drone videos here

I admit that I like a good drone (quadcopter) video of a fire. Most of these videos have been from drone enthusiasts who take the opportunity to video a fire near them. Some have even been training fires.

While I am not a “buff” or chase fires, I have contemplated getting a drone as a hobby for my son and I. I brought it up, he was interested, so it is a no-brainer for potential father/son time for us….plus, you never know what we may be able to video.

I have not seen too many fire departments that have embraced the use of drones…which makes sense. I don’t know of too many departments that have a bunch of firefighters with nothing to do on the fireground. The video above is a great example of using a drone to find a fire. Even though this was not a FD drone, you can see the possibilities. Check it above. Does your department use drones? Read the article here


drone video fire wake forest

Comments - Add Yours

  • Mark E. Brady @PGFDPIO

    Rhett – Fire Investigators and our Bomb Squad in Prince George’s County MD had secured a grant to purchase a drone. After checking with the FAA about operating the drone in/near proximity to many sites in the County and the Washington DC area we decided not to move forward based on FAA restrictions. Definitely could see a use for Investigators and Bomb Squad application.

    • The Fire Critic

      Thanks Mark. I have heard of departments getting them and others with issues somewhat like yours.

  • Todd Tucker

    As in any new technology, particularly one evolving as rapidly as drones, there is bound to be some initial confusion and as always when it comes to “change” in the fire service, there will be some resistance. But make no mistake UAV’s (drones) are here to stay. Why? Because they offer a low cost, safe way to get the big picture on incidents such as wildfire, HAZMAT, USAR, post storm assessment, high angle ops and so much more. This technology will save lives and it will save property. Our department will be launching a drone program this summer. In the interest of full disclosure – I am a LT. with 18 years on the job with a 300 person department. One my days off I work in the UAV industry so I probably have a better grasp on the technology than some. Of course I am also a proponent of UAV’s in the fire service. As I stated at the outset, there are quite a few things that need to be sorted out before this becomes commonplace but the sorting out is already underway. Our local state college will be offering a class on UAV’s in the Fire Service (I am teaching it). Lastly I must take issue with the section of the article above which reads:

    “I don’t know of too many departments that have a bunch of firefighters with nothing to do on the foreground. ”

    Recon is recon and all firefighters know the monumental importance of having a firm grasp on your what you’ve got before lives are committed to the job. We call it situational awareness. For an I.C. (without a UAV at his/her disposal) getting that important information often means committing people to the task of going close in, looking, and relaying back what they are seeing. This requires people, usually more than one. This requires radio traffic. And it can be confusing as things can be lost in translation between the guys with eyes on the problem and person at the command truck. While there will always be a need for this traditional approach on certain scenes, UAV’s can provide this information directly to the I.C. – with just one person being used – the UAV pilot. In the end you may have more people available and being used much more efficiently. – Thanks for reading