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DRONERESPONDERS and ASTM Partner to Standardize Public Safety Drone Training

BY Zacc Dukowitz
8 October 2020

DRONERESPONDERS and ASTM (American Society for Testing and Materials) recently announced a partnership to help standardize training for the use of drones in public safety and emergency service applications.


The new effort is called the Public Safety UAS Standardized Training Initiative (STI) and it will be administered solely by DRONERESPONDERS personnel for the public safety sector.

The goal for the Public Safety UAS Standardized Training Initiative is to create a safer, more efficient operating environment for all stakeholders in the whole community.

– Brian Meincke, VP of Global Business Development and Innovation Strategy at ASTM International

This new collaboration will meet a rapidly growing demand in the U.S. for public safety UAS training—since the Part 107 rules were first launched in 2016, over 1,500 public safety agencies have adopted the use of drones in their operations, but there remains a gap in training and knowledge of how to build a drone program.

How Will the Standardized Training Initiative Work?

Put simply, ASMT will provide the standards for public safety drone training and DRONERESPONDERS will provide the evaluation and auditing of existing programs in the field against those standards.

Photo credit: Skydio

With over 12,000 standards currently in use throughout the world, ASTM is a globally recognized leader in the development and delivery of standards for various industries, including Construction, Oil & Gas, and many others.

Over the last year, the organization has worked with drone industry and public safety stakeholders to create standards for public safety UAS training, which a recent press release describes as “the most robust set of UAS operational standards available to date.”

The new standard is called the ASTM International standard F3379 – 20, also known as the Standard Guide for Training for Public Safety Remote Pilot of Unmanned Aircraft Systems (UAS) Endorsement.

[Read ASTM International standard F3379 – 20 on the ASTM website.]

Using these new standards, DRONERESPONDERS personnel will evaluate and audit existing public safety drone curricula to determine whether they are in conformance.

The Public Safety UAS Standardized Training Initiative will serve as the catalyst toward creating a standardized training environment for all types and sizes of public safety agencies.

– Charles Werner, Retired Fire Chief and Director of DRONERESPONDERS

Those programs that meet or exceed the requirements established by the applicable standards will receive a certificate and digital emblem from DRONERESPONDERS and ASTM confirming that their training has been approved as a Public Safety UAS (STI) Approved Training Provider.

At the moment, it is unclear if there will be a charge associated with the certification process.

Want to Build a Drone Program? ASTM’s New UAS Standards Are a Good Place to Start

The new ASTM standard for public safety UAS training references several other UAS standards, making it clear that ASTM hasn’t just developed it’s training standard in a vacuum but in fact has developed a robust family of standards for the development of a drone program.

In the “Referenced Documents” section of the new public safety UAS training standard we see a full list of other standards, which cover all of the different pieces of creating a successful drone program:

  • Standard for Unmanned Aircraft Flight Manual (Standard F2908)
  • Specification for Design and Construction of an sUAS (Standard F2910)
  • Practice for Seeking Approval for Beyond Visual Line of Sight (BVLOS) sUAS Operations (Standard F3196 )
  • Guide for Training for Remote Pilot in Command of Unmanned Aircraft Systems (UAS) Endorsement (Standard F3266)
  • Specification for Design, Construction, and Verification of Lightweight sUAS (Standard F3298)
  • Specification for Training and the Development of Training Manuals for the sUAS Operator (Standard F3330)

[Related reading: An Introductory Guide to Establishing a Professional Drone Program in Your Company]

DRONERESPONDERS Takes Leading Role in Public Safety UAS

This year DRONERESPONDERS, the public safety division of AIRT (Airborne International Response Team), has stepped decisively into the public eye when it comes to providing leadership for how drones should be used in public safety.

Photo credit: AIRT

In March, when the effects of the pandemic were first starting to be felt in the U.S., DRONERESPONDERS announced that it was launching a task force to help fight the spread of COVID-19.

Since then, DRONERESPONDERS has partnered with every major drone event, providing content for Commercial UAV Expo’s annual conference, hosting a co-located event at AUVSI’s XPONENTIAL 2020, and releasing a list of 5 principles on the responsible use of drones in public safety.

And the news keeps coming. Just today, the organization announced that it had won first place in AUVSI’s annual XCELLENCE Awards, in the Public Safety category.

Know of a drone program that might benefit from this new initiative? Share your thoughts in this thread on the UAV Coach community forum.

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