Latest Stories

Fire Department Drone Training

Wildland Fire Flight Debrief 2-22-2018

WFFD UAS Flight Debrief Date: 2-22-2018 Flight Time: 60 Minutes Lessons Learned: Chief Ed Barrett accompanied Chief Pilot Steve Rhode to Hoffman, NC for a controlled burn of 250 acres. The purpose of the exercise and training was to evaluate how the drone handled different parts of a wildfire. NC Wildlife Resource Commission teams began the fire along the backline ... Read More »

Thermal Drone Video From SAR for Dementia Patient

Last night I had the opportunity to fly a search and rescue flight for an exercise where the scenario was a dementia patient had walked out of a residence and followed the terrain downhill till they became stuck. Once the victim was located the student searchers navigated their way, with directions from the pilot, to the warm body victim. They ... Read More »

Public Safety Drone FLIR Training and Tips – Color 1 Palette

Let me state from the start, I am not the purveyor of all knowledge when it comes to FLIR operations. There are still mysteries I’ve been unable to solve, like why Color 1 works, but here are some tips and observations that may be helpful. Dealing with FLIR camera operations in search and rescue can be a challenging experience. It ... Read More »

Expecting Trouble is a Safe Way to Fly

As a public safety rescue pilot with the Wake Forest Fire Department, I’m here to tell you there is no substitute for preparing for something unexpected to happen while you are in the air. Let me share some of my scares with you. Every day I fly a very expensive DJI Matrice 210 with thermal and zoom cameras on it. ... Read More »

How to Mount Lume Cubes on a Matrice 210 for Fire and Police Use

At the time this is posted there is not yet a perfect solution for providing illumination at night for an emergency scene or incident. Some light bars do exist but the weight and payload reduction makes them not practical for many emergency services UAS pilots. Lume Cube makes smal 1.5 inch cubes that can putput 1,500 lumens at the highest ... Read More »

Active Shooter Drone Flight Training and Video: Unexpected Outcome

The local police tactical unit and I recently conducted an active shooter drone flight exercise flying inside a big box store. These are large stores like Sam’s Club, Walmart, Best Buy, or even most major grocery stores. The DJI Matrice 210 is a larger Unmanned Aircraft System (UAS) and what we learned from the exercise is while the drone was ... Read More »

The Coming Public Safety Drone Pilot Danger of Wilting on the Vine

It’s one thing to want to get into flying UAS or drones for public safety missions. Getting the proper training, passing the right tests, and doing a bit of flying is the easy part. What is going to become more of an issue are people of fire departments and police departments who have passed a test and flown a bit ... Read More »

Human Location Isotherm Settings Using DJI FLIR XT Camera on a Matrice 210

As the Wake Forest Fire Department UAS pilot, one of the issues I have to face is dealing with an unplanned event and flying the incident on short notice but provide optimum data gathering abilities and mission accomplishment. I wish my flights had the luxury of being on the schedule but when the call comes in, I have to go. ... Read More »

The Three Best Approaches to Finding Your Fire Department Drone Pilot

You would think getting a drone into service with a fire department would be a simple matter. But as with every other issue there can be more factors to consider when planning your department’s flight strategy and drone use. There are three primary options for deciding who is best to operate a UAS (Unmanned Aircraft System) or drone for your ... Read More »

Why the DJI Phantom is the Best and Worst Public Safety Drone to Use

The DJI Phantom has become an ubiquitous UAS that many are jumping into. In fact I have three myself and hundreds of hours flying them. If you want to buy one, use this link so I get some credit for it. Here on the Public Safety Flight website I’ve already covered a number of stories where local departments have a ... Read More »