Fire Technology: Find Drone Pilots
Photo by Rangsan Lerkngam / Dreamstime.com
Based on the number of public safety agencies that have received Federal Aviation Administration (FAA) Authorization certificates (COA) and Part 107 exemption requests, there are at least 4,000 public safety unmanned aircraft system (UAS) programs operating in the United States. This number continues to grow exponentially, and in a 2020 study of operations in the country that was conducted by Drone Responders, at least 17 use cases of UAS for public safety have been identified.
Even with all this activity in the United States, there was no one place or easy way for anyone to identify similar or related agencies that have a UAS program. This is unfortunate for everyone, because in areas where UAS teams are known to operate, regional groups tend to share information with each other and train together. There is a general consensus that new UAS programs can grow faster when they have the opportunity to learn from other more advanced programs than if they do not have access to this pool of information.
UAS program overview
In May 2021, DroneResponders, in a joint initiative with National Administration of Space and Aeronautics‘s (NASA) Ames Research Center, which is located in Moffett Field, California, and Esri, which is an international geographic information system software provider, has established a Global Public Safety UAS Program Directory and Map. The purpose of the directory is to share, collaborate, communicate and coordinate across disciplines on issues related to public safety and UAS. These include best practices, lessons learned, security advisories, and regulatory updates. It also helps identify UAS public safety resources for regional cooperation and mutual aid and facilitate regional training opportunities for UAS programs, no matter where they are in the country or in the world, for that matter. .
Program development is focused on easy access: UAS public safety programs can record their information using a simple investigative tool. The information is secure and once entered, it automatically populates on a global map.
Within two weeks of the directory launch, more than 300 agencies / departments in the United States and overseas submitted their information. Accordingly, programs from agencies located around the world will be provided: program start date; number and type of missions carried out, including COVID-19, damage assessment, firefighting, hazardous materials, whitewater rescue and forest fires; Operational payloads (i.e. AED delivery, cargo drop, coronal sensor, flotation device drop, gas detection, photographic image capture, thermal imaging, video streaming and zoom capability) ; program capacities; types of drones used; number of pilots and other details. It is possible to access information on a particular ministry / agency by clicking on its symbol On the map.
The map dashboard allows filtering by public safety discipline (e.g., fire department / EMS, emergency management, search and rescue, and law enforcement), state, and more. Plans call for adding more layers of public safety UAS information as the database grows.
“GIS’s ability to capture, analyze and display data makes it an ideal platform for identifying the location of public safety drone programs and the geographic locations they can serve,” says Brandon Karr, who is a National UAS subject matter expert for public safety. applications and is the chief pilot of the Pearland, Texas, police department. (Karr, who started Pearland’s UAS program, is volunteering his time to support the Global Public Safety UAS Program Directory and Map initiative.) “But not all public safety agencies have an active drone program,” he told Firehouse Magazine, “and those [public safety agencies] that may not always have resources available for deployment. CA will help. “
The UAS Global Public Safety Program Directory and Map is free to anyone and open to all disciplines of public safety.
Directory of remote pilots
Also in May 2021, the International airborne response team (AIRT), which is a Miami-based, non-profit, nongovernmental organization, FL 501 (c) (3) (and which serves as a home for DroneResponders) has launched a global directory of emergency remote pilots. The directory, which will leverage Esri’s Geographic Information System (GIS) software, is expected to identify remotely trained public safety pilots who may be available to assist other communities during the event. emergencies and major disasters and to help in humanitarian missions.
“There are many public safety remote pilots around the world, but no way to identify, recruit and deploy these new and valuable remote pilots,” said Christopher Todd, executive director of AIRT. “This tool will help do just that.”
Todd is also a certified emergency manager and a remote pilot.
“Together, these two initiatives will provide the means to enhance and promote UAS public safety resources around the world,” says Todd.
Todd said Commercial drone news that AIRT’s initial initiative in this vein did not have the proper workflow to assess all listings, hence the importance of Esri’s involvement.
“The benefit of the suite of tools that Esri brings to the table is that we can create an array of options for public safety users to access the resource,” Todd told Commercial UAV News. “We will use georeferenced mapping products… to show where resources are and information dashboards… to compartmentalize information and make it more digestible at scale. “
To register for the Remote Emergency Response Pilot Directory, send your information to remotepilots.org.