As drones become more widely used for public safely applications, Northeast UAS Airspace Integration Research (NUAIR) and officials in New York sponsored a “Fly-In” to showcase and educate public officials on various public safety applications.
As discussed in their recent press release:
“NUAIR hosted its first New York UAS Public Safety Fly-In, bringing more than 100 public safety officials from across New York State to the State Preparedness Training Center (SPTC) in Oriskany, New York. Unmanned aircraft systems (UAS), commonly referred to as drones, can be utilized by many organizations to help save time, money, resources and in the case of public safety – lives. With the help of New York State public safety officials, New York State Division of Homeland Security and Emergency Services and the SPTC staff, participants had a successful day of learning and flying drones in multiple emergency scenarios setup throughout the SPTC.
“Unmanned Aerial Systems have rapidly become a critical component of emergency response operations, making it essential first responders have the training they need to utilize these devices in the field,” said New York State Homeland Security and Emergency Services Commissioner Patrick A. Murphy.
Crime Scene Investigation:
Indoor flights led by law enforcement officials from the Albany County Sheriff’s Office and New York State Police taught participants the many challenges of indoor flight, tactical flights, the use of thermal cameras and crime scene investigation.
“If we can deploy a drone during an active situation where firearms or explosives may be in play, we’re going to do it,” said Lee Bormann, Chief Deputy of the Albany County Sheriff’s Department. “Being able to fly a drone around a corner or through a window to gather potentially life-saving intel is invaluable.”
Use of Drones with Sensors to Give Guidance to Low-Light, Confused, or Smokey Environments:
“Another scenario laid out on the old runway at the SPTC was a rubble pile which included broken down buildings and debris, disabled vehicles and an active smoke machine to simulate this real-life scenario. Albany Fire Department, New York City Fire Department (FDNY) and Washington County Public Safety officials showed participants how to scan the rubble pile using an infrared camera and hazmat gas-sensing equipment. The infrared camera detects heat and produces a thermal image on the pilot’s remote-control display to help identify things like people and fire within the rubble pile.”
Use of Drones to Find Victims Using Heat Sensors:
“The third scenario, led by Syracuse Fire Department and FDNY officials was “disaster village”, a scene filled with multiple buildings, hazardous materials and open flames. Participants had to fly their drone through this smoke-filled village to find “people” (heat-sensor mannequins) trapped within and around the buildings and gather intel on the open flames. Then they learned how to properly take pictures with their drone for accurate scene documentation and post-emergency education.”
Search and Rescue:
“The fourth scenario was a search and rescue mission in a highly wooded area led by Scotia and Rock Hill firefighters. Participants learned the added difficulty of flying their drone in and around trees while utilizing their infrared camera to spot “people” lost in the woods. They also learned how to program their drone to automatically fly in a “lawn-mower” pattern to accurately scan the wooded area, assuring every inch was looked over.”
“We [NUAIR] are making a concerted effort to help train and educate New York State emergency personnel on the proper use and implementation of drones into their operations,” said Michael Hertzendorf, CEO of NUAIR. “It was great to see the incredible participation from public safety organizations and to begin to work with them to help them understand how drones can be utilized to support their work and ultimately be deployed, helping them save lives faster.”
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