The National Fire Protection Association (NFPA) has created a Drone Knowledgebase to help more than 29,000 fire departments in the United States improve existing public safety drone programs or to establish new drone initiatives.
Drones have become a key instrument for public safety efforts in recent years with first responders increasingly deploying aerial technology to achieve greater situational awareness during structural fires, wildfires, natural disasters, rescue efforts, and large public gatherings. However, many US fire departments find themselves without the proper information, knowledge, and experience needed to establish, administer, operate, and maintain a cohesive public safety drone program.
To help with this issue, NFPA has developed a Drone Knowledgebase as part of the Association’s broader public safety drone educational program. The interactive public safety tool was created with information-sharing and collaboration in mind so that US public safety entities are apprised of what other fire departments across the nation are doing in terms of drone technology, staffing, and processes as they look to establish or revisit departmental drone programs.
US fire departments are encouraged to contribute to the NFPA Drone Knowledgebase so that the tool provides the greatest value to all users. As with another popular NFPA crowd-sharing tool, Codefinder, the Drone Knowledgebase is only as strong as the information received from stakeholders. The new response resource is expected to become more robust as fire departments learn about the resource, contribute local information, and invite neighboring jurisdictions to add their program details.
The NFPA Drone Knowledgebase was made possible by a FEMA Fire Prevention and Safety Grant that also paved the way for new online drone training from NFPA. The training, which was released in September, was designed to help fire service administrators and operators create, manage, and maintain drone programs that are in sync with proper public safety protocols.
NFPA has established a dedicated landing page so that members of the fire service can access the 4-hour training, NFPA 2400, Standard for Small Unmanned Aircraft Systems (sUAS) Used for Public Safety Operations, a training teaser video, research, related content, and the Knowledgebase in one convenient location.