NFPA launches a new Drone Knowledgebase; invites fire departments to add equipment, personnel, and other details to new crowd sourcing resource
While drones are being used more and more these days by fire departments to help with situational awareness during structural fires, wildfires, natural disasters, rescue efforts, and large public gatherings, there are many jurisdictions that still lack the knowledge and experience needed to establish, administer, operate, and maintain a cohesive public safety drone program. To help inform those that want to revisit or begin an effective drone program for emergency preparedness and response scenarios, NFPA has developed a Drone Knowledgebase that encourages information-sharing and collaboration. The easy-to-use tool asks questions about population, response types, pilot count, visual observers, waivers, drone makes and models, payloads, and remote image feeds so that administrators and operators can effectively create, manage, and maintain drone programs that are in sync with proper public safety protocols. The resource is the latest drone deliverable from NFPA and can be found on the microsite nfpa.org/drones along with new online training for the fire service, NFPA 2400, Standard for Small Unmanned Aircraft Systems (sUAS) Used for Public Safety Operations, a training teaser video, research, and related content. NFPA received a FEMA Fire Prevention and Safety Grant to develop the Knowledgebase and a four hour online training program (released in September) so that the nation’s 29,000 fire departments have aerial technology insights. The Knowledgebase will only be as strong as the information received from fire departments. NFPA, however; is optimistic given the success of a similar crowd sourcing tool called Codefinder™, which gathers and shares the codes that are applied in certain countries, states, territories, and communities. Since it debuted in 2018, Codefinder draws thousands of visitors each month. Over time, the Drone Knowledgebase is expected to become more robust and valuable to fire departments. Visit nfpa.org/drones to learn about NFPA resources and to add your data to the new Knowledgebase. Also, be sure to invite neighboring departments to add their program details too.