Volunteer Firefighter International

NVFC, Drone Group to Help Volunteer Fire Depts use Drones

Source: National Volunteer Fire Council

The National Volunteer Fire Council entered a partnership with DRONERESPONDERS – a nonprofit program supporting public safety – to help coordinate, cooperate, and co-promote efforts to enhance the use of drones in the pursuit of public safety.

The memorandum of understanding outlines the key initiatives under which the NVFC and DRONERESPONDERS will collaborate together to assist America’s volunteer fire, EMS, and rescue services in adopting and perfecting the use of unmanned aircraft systems to help save lives.

“Our members are increasingly interested in learning more about how they can use drones to enhance their ability to serve the public,” said Steve Hirsch, chair of the NVFC. “At the same time, we are also hearing concerns from members about privately operated drones interfering with their operations. Our partnership with DRONERESPONDERS will focus on both of these issues, providing information to the volunteer emergency services about drone operations, and educating public safety and the public in general about the benefits and challenges associated with drone use at emergency scenes.”

The partnership works towards the common goal of enhancing public safety and furthering the capabilities of emergency responders. DRONERESPONDERS was created to unite aerial first responders, emergency managers, and search and rescue specialists to maximize drone operations for public safety. With volunteers comprising 65 percent of the nation’s fire service, it is important to educate this segment of the emergency responder community on this growing technology. It could also benefit departments struggling to meet staffing needs by helping them be more effective and efficient in their operations.

“Volunteer firefighters are the backbone of our nation’s fire service, providing life-safety services across most smaller towns and rural communities in the U.S.,” said Charles Werner, director of DRONERESPONDERS and retired fire chief from Charlottesville, Va. “Drones represent an amazing new capability to help these departments conduct a wide-array of operations, ranging from search and rescue missions to structure fires to hazmat incidents.”

Werner says DRONERESPONDERS and the NVFC will work together to provide resources to help volunteer fire departments adopt and implement Drones For Good, a program designed to use unmanned aviation capabilities in disaster response.

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