Tech Zone

So Your Department Bought a Drone; Now What?

Issue 5 and Volume 172.

By Scott Mlakar There is no doubt that using unmanned aerial systems (UAS) or drones for emergency response can provide huge benefits during emergency operations as well as many nonemergency uses. Fire service agencies around the world will spend more than $800 million on drones in the coming months. In the past couple of years, many articles have focused on what you need to start a drone program, covering justifications for its use, Federal Aviation Administration (FAA) requirements for public safety agencies [certificate of authorization (COA) vs. Part 107], and proper equipment selection. Numerous companies now will consult with your department and sell you a full package to get your UAS program started, but no one knows your needs and response area better than you. A few dedicated people who educate themselves and know where to look can obtain the same information and launch an effective program. Among the myriad…

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