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DJI Partners with Los Angeles Fire Dept. | Two-way Collaboration to Test and Develop Drone Technology for Fire and Rescue Industry

BY Zacc Dukowitz
11 April 2019

The Los Angeles Fire Department (LAFD) and DJI recently announced a partnership to create, test, and deploy DJI drone technology in emergency response situations. This new collaboration is the continuation of an ongoing partnership between DJI and the LAFD.

Photo credit: DJI

Both parties will benefit from the arrangement, which is reflected in the name chosen for the collaboration: The Solution Development Partnership.

DJI will get field testing and data related to how its drones can best be used by public safety personnel, and the LAFD will get access to new technologies from DJI along with training and support on how best to use them.

Through our two-way collaboration, DJI will receive valuable insight into the complexities of deploying drones for emergency situations in one of the most complex urban environments in the nation. This insight will allow us to continue to refine and develop new technologies that will allow the LAFD and leading public safety agencies around the world to gain more value from life-saving drone technology.

– Bill Chen, Enterprise Partnerships Manager at DJI

Regarding use cases, the LAFD plans to continue using drones across a variety of emergency response situations, including incident response for swift water rescues, hazmat operations, urban search and rescue missions, hot-spot identification, and aerial mapping to help manage wildfire response.

[Want to learn more about how drones are used in firefighting? Check out our article, 7 Ways Fire Departments Use Drones in the Field.]

LAFD’s Ongoing Partnership with DJI

To date, the LAFD has flown over 175 missions in the field using DJI drones as part of their ongoing partnership.

Combining advanced drone technology with new software tools will help bridge the gap between helicopters and firefighters on the ground, allowing us to address life-threatening situations faster and more effectively than ever before.

– Richard Fields, LAFD Battalion Chief

The drones deployed in these missions include those from the Matrice 200 series, the Matrice 600 series, and the Phantom 4 Pro.

These drones have been outfitted with both visual and thermal cameras, which provide a live feed for incident commanders so they can gain key insights into the situation on the ground to help guide decision making in emergency response situations.

A picture of the Matrice 600 (Photo credit: DJI)

LAFD’s Leadership in the Drone World

The LAFD launched their drone program in December of 2017 when Los Angeles was being ravaged by wildfires, and it was—and remains—one of the largest public agency drone programs in the world.

LAFD To Deploy Heat-Seeking Drones To Search For Hot Spots

The creation of the LAFD’s drone program was spearheaded by Drone Pilot Ground School alum Derrick Ward, who drew on his thirty years of experience as a firefighter and his years of experience as a drone pilot in creating it. The launch of the program was a milestone in the evolution of drone adoption by public agencies due to the LAFD being one of the largest fire departments in the world, providing fire prevention and firefighting to 4 million people.

Since the LAFD first launched their drone program we’ve seen adoption grow throughout public agencies, in both fire and police departments.

Over 900 public agencies currently use drones in their operations, and that number seems to be increasing at a steady clip. As yet another sign of growing adoption, last year InterDrone added a full-day Public Safety workshop and a dedicated Public Safety track to the offerings at their annual conference, which is touted as the largest commercial drone event in North America.

Want to learn more about how to create a drone program at your police or fire department? Here are some resources to help you get started:

Do you think the number of public agencies using drones in their operations will grow exponentially over the next few years? Chime in on this thread in the UAV Coach community forum to share your thoughts.

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