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News & Notes

FDNY Uses Drone to Help Fight 4-Alarm Fire

Definitely #dronesforgood

March 7, 2017

The New York City Fire Department (FDNY) flew a quadcopter drone during a 4-alarm fire in the Bronx last night. According to a tweet by the department, this is the first time it has deployed a drone during a fire incident.

Firefighters used the drone to help confirm verbal reports about the structure’s roof.

“The roof started to fail and we had a lot of great radio reports but that’s only verbal, so with the drone we had good visual pictures and it really helped us make decisions to put this fire out and keep our members safe," said FDNY Deputy Assistant Chief Dan Donoghue in a Facebook post, describing the first-ever use of the FDNY drone.

Since flying drones in NYC is illegal, FDNY must obtain permission from the FAA to fly each time it uses its firefighter-drone. According to the New York Times, the department has an agreement with the FAA that speeds up the process of attaining permission to fly (apparently it should only take about 15 minutes to get approval).
This drone weighs about eight pounds, carries HD and infrared cameras, and is tethered when flying above incidents. According to the New York Times, the drone costs about $85,000.

Here’s a video of FDNY’s unnamed drone … I predict a naming competition? But maybe not — after all, it could end up like that time a British government agency let the internet name a new research ship. (Honestly, I thought Boaty McBoatface was a fine name. The FDNY’s drone could be Droney McDroneface? Meh, we can do better than that.)

Featured image: pixabay/ASSY