The National Fire Protection Association (NFPA), a self-funded nonprofit organization, has released a free online training program to help more than 29,000 fire departments in the US improve existing public safety drone programs and establish new drone initiatives.
Today, fire departments across the nation are leveraging drones to support public safety preparedness efforts and supplement emergency response tactics. But as is the case with any new technology, using drones sometimes presents unexpected challenges for both fire service drone program administrators and the fire personnel charged with operating such aerial technologies.
As such, this new NFPA online learning course is designed to provide recommendations and best practices that would enable fire departments to take their drone programs to a higher level.
Explains Christian Dubay, P.E., NFPA vice president and chief engineer:
Drones offer the fire service increased situational awareness advantages during structural and wildland firefighting attack, search and rescue missions, HAZMAT assessments, and natural disaster response. And they can effectively augment public safety planning efforts as well.
But in order to be safe and successful, it is important for fire department drone programs to be built in accordance with FAA regulations, regional rules, and the guidance found within NFPA 2400, Standard for Small Unmanned Aircraft Systems (sUAS) Used for Public Safety Operations.
The four-hour training program, developed with the help of a FEMA Fire Prevention and Safety Grant, is packed with interactive videos, immersive virtual reality tools, and other dynamic components. Additionally, the content is in sync with proper public safety protocols. The course is designed in an easy-to-digest manner, so that first responders can grasp and remember important drone safety information at their own pace.
NFPA says this course is a must-have for anyone responsible for drone programs that support the following:
- Structural and wildland firefighting
- Search and rescue missions
- Hazardous material responses
- Natural disasters
- Active shooter/hostile event response (ASHER)
- Other events where public safety operations would benefit from increased situational awareness
If you fit the bill, register here.
Read more: NASA joins California firefighters to see how drones help with wildfires
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