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Eye in the Sky: Drones for Fire Service Training

Drones have added tremendous value in the fire service since the beginning of the second decade of this century.  In its multitude of uses ranging from a 360-degree size-up tool to delivering high-profile images in real time to commanders as they decide how to respond, conducting flyovers of areas involved in natural disasters, and locating seats of the fire in firefighting operations, to name a few.  Drones used for fire service training can also be a substantial value added tool.  Drones used in training have many applications and advantages that should be considered as a major component of any training program.

            I had the luxury to witness and be a part of training in which a drone was used to capture real time footage.  I recently attended an extreme fire extinguisher school in Wisconsin in which all prop evolution footage was recorded using a drone.  I did not realize the impact and benefits a drone could provide within a training program.  In the age where safety is priority one, using a drone for fire service training provides an increased opportunity to train safer as well as enrich fire service skills and techniques.  Drone use for fire service training also provides other valuable benefits:

  • Provides a “global” aerial view of training evolutions on the training ground.

  • Assist training officers in locating and identifying strengths and weaknesses in technique.

  • Used as a reinforcement and evaluation tool to validate and add credibility to a training program.

  • Real-time footage capture can be used as an ongoing training evaluation tool for specific programs.

  • Incorporate operations to promote firefighter safety.

  • Act as an “unmanned instructor” in real-time to correct problems as they occur.

  • Provide students with specialized, individual coaching opportunities.

Drones used for in fire service training are cost-effective and provides an ease of use that promotes sound risk management principles and increased situational awareness and control of your training scenarios.  Technology in training offers great rewards, optimal training program development, and the ability strengthen your delivery model by enhancing training evaluation. 

In the video, footage is captured from various aerial vantage points that reinforce the risk-benefit model of drones in fire service training programs.  It allows you to examine and evaluate every aspect of technique, safety practices and demonstrates the use as a virtual instructor in which the human instructor can maintain a position location, have the ability to oversee a training evolution and allow for stoppage of potential unsafe acts.

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