Above: A drone was tested at Homestead National Historic Site April 22, 2016 to determine the feasibility of using it to ignite a prescribed fire. Photo by Bill Gabbert.
The Los Angeles Fire Department is seeking approval to use drones to provide additional situational awareness for firefighters. They will be following in the footsteps of the Austin and New York City Fire Departments that have been operating drones for a while.
According to SPCR.org:
The main reason is to increase firefighter safety. And some good examples might be, a long duration structure fire. By long duration I mean 30 minutes or longer. We could put up a UAV in the air and then have the image transmitted down to the command post, down in the street. The incident commander can then determine whether or not we should deploy firefighters to ventilate the roof. That’s a good example of how they would enhance firefighter safety.
The Department’s next step is to obtain approval from the Public Safety Committee, the City Council, and eventually the Federal Aviation Administration. They are optimistically hoping to have all the permissions by August, 2017.