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Alliance Promoting Drones for Public Safety Use Names Advisory Board

By Frank Wolfe | July 10, 2019
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Little Ripper Lifesaver drones by Australian-based Westpac have been used for shark spotting and sea rescues (Westpac Photo)

A Miami-based non-profit, DRONERESPONDERS Public Safety Alliance, formed in April to promote the use of drones for public safety missions, named a 41-member board of advisors this week.

The advisors include Thomas Madigan, commander of the Alameda County Sheriff’s Office, which has used drones extensively; Richard Fields, a battalion chief and the UAS lead for the Los Angeles City Fire Department and David Kovar, the CEO of the New Hampshire-based Unmanned & Robotic Systems Analysis, Inc.

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The alliance is a project of the Airborne International Response Team (AIRT), a Miami-based non-profit formed in 2017 to provide unmanned aviation research and charitable contributions for public safety and disaster relief.

The use of unmanned aircraft systems (UAS) for public safety "is evolving extremely rapidly,” said Charles Werner, the director of the alliance and the former chief of the Charlottesville, Virginia, Fire Department.  “It’s vital for DRONERESPONDERS to keep pace by continually absorbing and promoting new concepts and fresh ideas from those serving as our advisors.”

Werner has also served as the chairman of the National Council on Public Safety UAS.

Local agencies have used drones and their payloads, including forward-looking infrared systems, for a variety of missions, including firefighting, hazardous materials monitoring, search and rescue, beach shore patrols to look for sharks, criminal pursuit by law enforcement and surveillance before the deployment of SWAT teams, and water rescues through the dropping of flotation devices.

In April, French firefighters battling the blaze at Paris' Notre Dame Cathedral used camera-equipped DJI drones to monitor the scene and position fire hoses to combat the fire.

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