New York City Firefighters To Deploy Drones


Drones hovering over fires have often been the bane of firefighters, but now special versions of the unmanned aircraft are going to be put to work on emergency response teams. The New York City Fire Department is training some of its crews to deploy bright red drones to view fires using video and infrared cameras,according to a New York Times report.Unlike the popular types of consumer drones that can sell for a few hundred or a few thousand dollars, the FDNY’s first drone costs $85,000, with two more to come this year.

They’ll be used for larger fires to help assess response with one pilot and one observer for each drone, with a monitor to see fires from above. “It’s more situational awareness of what’s going on at the scene,” a firefighter told the Times. “It’s another view.”The drones will have some physical and legal limitations for the time being, since they’re unable to fly freely through the city in response to fire calls, the Times reported. Under arrangements with the FAA, the department must get a clearance to dispatch a drone, which officials said would take about 15 minutes. The aircraft will also be tethered, so it can fly up and down within 200 feet of the ground as it feeds live video to the monitor.The department called this a big step in firefighting technology. But officials in the Times report also noted that it’s “without a doubt the most boring drone you’ve ever seen in your life. All it does is goes up, and it stays there.”