National Drone Company Helps American Heroes Handle Holiday Hazards
Aquiline Drones Extends Free Online Drone Pilot Training for All First Responders
As festivities fire up this holiday season, so do the dangers to people and property. Holiday decorations, heating, winter storms and candles all contribute to an increased risk of fire during the winter months, according to the National Fire Protection Association. To help firefighters and police handle increased winter emergencies, Aquiline Drones (AD), a commercial drone manufacturing and cloud technology company in Hartford, Connecticut, is giving them the gift of free drone pilot training to use drones in the line of duty.
Any first responder can enroll in the company’s online Flight to the Future (F2F) flight training program from now until June 2022 and receive free tuition, valued at $399. To date, more than 500 police officers, firefighters and emergency medical technicians nationwide have enrolled in AD’s proprietary drone training program.
“We initially offered free Flight to the Future training to all first responders in honor of the twentieth 9/11 anniversary; however, overwhelming demand inspired us to continue arming these heroes with crucial training to keep them safe and secure by raising situational awareness with drones and cloud computing technology whenever they answer a call,” said Barry Alexander, Founder and CEO of Aquiline Drones.
Alexander notes that through its teaming agreement with GlobalFlyte, its F2F program – specific to first responders, is now enhanced with AWARE® technology, a centralized incident response platform that improves situational awareness for all involved in a crisis before, during and after the event. The integrated platform of communication and visualization tools created by GlobalFlyte delivers boundary-less, location-based, cloud-hosted services to public safety field personnel, 911 operators, dispatch centers and command centers at their particular geography for a quicker and safer response through improved communication, collaboration, and comprehension. AWARE is as useful to a small department as it is to a major urban disaster response and can be easily displayed on a tablet, vehicle’s MDT, large screen, computer or smart phone.
“Both AD and GlobalFlyte understand that in the chaos of a new incident, time is the enemy,” explains Alexander. “The longer it takes to assess needs and deploy the appropriate response, the greater the chance of the incident escalating to dangerous and deadly proportions. Integrating AWARE technology into AD’s drone and cloud technology ecosystem ensures enhanced situational awareness and, therefore, better allocation of resources.”
The F2F interactive online course teaches police and fire professionals how to utilize drone and cloud technology safely and effectively – embedded with Artificial Intelligence (AI) in their daily missions. The educational content is available on-demand at any time, so participants can take the course at their own pace and convenience. Besides earning their FAA Part 107 commercial drone pilot certification, F2F program participants will also learn about cloud computing, AI, the Internet of Things (IoT) and other technologies transforming the unmanned aerial vehicle (UAV) industry.
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Some detailed, real-world applications that drones can fulfill for firefighters, police officers and EMTs include:
- Delivery of Emergency Supplies- When seconds count, drones can be sent ahead of first responders to assess the situation on the ground, give responders a critical heads-up and be used to deliver lifesaving supplies and equipment to victims that are not readily reachable by humans in time.
- Search and Rescue – Drones can perform search and rescue missions, helping police officers and firefighters locate missing persons, survivors of an explosion or building collapse or accident victims thrown from cars. Search and rescue missions often take place in rugged, overgrown areas, involve restricted visibility, and sometimes include very little starting information. With drone support, SAR missions can become much more efficient and life-preserving.
- Disaster Management – In a post-disaster environment, it may be too risky to send in ground support initially. Accordingly, drones can be deployed to provide Aerial Imagery to enhance situational awareness for those on the ground. New low-cost thermal cameras also improve visibility in difficult conditions to help locate subjects in darkness or heavy vegetation, reducing time, cost, and risk associated with on-foot operations to get the job done faster, and with fewer lives at risk.
- Law enforcement – When emergency calls are received that involve criminal activities, drones can be deployed ahead of police arrival to provide first-person viewing (FPV) and real time situational awareness, thus capturing crimes in action, providing first responders with live footage of the scene, and even recording footage/images of criminals that may have left the scene prior to the arrival of the authorities. This has the powerful potential of reducing law enforcement costs from pursuing criminals through prolonged investigations, improving conviction rates, reducing wrongful arrests and convictions, and ultimately saving taxpayer dollars on processing arrestees and court cases. In this context, drones can be outfitted with audible devices i.e., sirens and flashing blue and red lights indicating the arrival of law enforcement on the scene, thereby serving as deterrents to crimes or escalations, while improving response rates for cities. Subsequently, police authorities will be safer on the job and more effective at solving or fighting crimes that truly necessitate their involvement.
- Site Assessment – Drones can “see” through smoke by providing real-time video, overlaid area topography and maps, they offer the insight needed to enhance missions. They can even pinpoint hidden fire in roofs and walls to better protect a firefighting team.
Alexander highlights that a F2F Smart Firefighting module is in development and scheduled for release during first quarter of 2022. The specialized training teaches fire departments advanced applications of drones in battling a variety of conflagrations, structures, environments, and HAZMAT situations. For a sneak peek of the new training
“Since the holiday season is a time of giving and helping others, we could not think of a better gift than ensuring all first responders partake in this essential training at no cost,” concludes Alexander. “Drones have always been the eyes in the sky and offer immeasurable benefits to the entire public safety industry – ultimately protecting and saving human life, which is priceless.”
Alexander is planning to raise awareness of the benefits of drone use for first responders by speaking at meetings and gatherings of fire, police chief and EMT associations in the new year.
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