Drone Organizations Partner for Public-Safety Coordination in Florida
Tuesday, October 19, 2021 | Comments

The Airborne International Response Team (AIRT) partnered with the Association of Unmanned Vehicles Systems International (AUVSI) Florida Peninsula chapter to launch a new public-safety initiative to support Florida’s first responders.

Under an agreement of cooperation, the two organizations are creating a model for supporting statewide public-safety and emergency services organizations using unmanned aircraft systems (UAS) and other uncrewed, remotely piloted and autonomous technologies used to help save lives and protect property.

Branded under AIRT’s DRONERESPONDERS non-profit program, the DRONERESPONDERS Florida Public Safety Coordination Group will establish the framework for public-safety agencies and emergency services organizations to directly collaborate with industry, government, and academia through the combined expertise of AIRT and AUVSI members at the regional level.

DRONERESPONDERS Public Safety Coordination Groups (DPSCGs), the first of which is in Florida, will operate in the U.S. at a statewide level with support from AUVSI chapters and other designated partners. The primary objectives of the DPSCGs will be to:
• Support the education, adoption and use of remotely piloted, uncrewed and autonomous systems by public-safety and emergency service organizations at the regional (state) level within the scope of established legal and acceptable community standards;
• Increase awareness and understanding of the value of drones, robotics and related technologies by the public with increased emphasis on underserved communities; and
• Provide a mechanism for government to directly collaborate with industry and academia at the regional level to stimulate innovation and better serve the whole community during times of emergency and crisis.

“We have witnessed an incredible proliferation in the use of unmanned technologies by public-safety agencies at the state and local level,” said John Lambert, president, AUVSI Florida Peninsula chapter. “Our collaboration with DRONERESPONDERS will help us support our first responders who are using these systems while also allowing us to better educate the general population about the value these systems can provide during emergencies and disasters.”

The DRONERESPONDERS Florida Public Safety Coordination Group will be spearheaded by a collaborative team of UAS program managers from public-safety agencies throughout the state. Sgt. Robert Dooley, unmanned aerial vehicle program coordinator for the Florida Highway Patrol, will start as the initial point of contact for Florida law enforcement agencies operating UAS, while Rich Gatanis, firefighter, hazardous materials (HAZMAT) technician and UAS program coordinator for the Southern Manatee Fire and Rescue District, will serve as the liaison for fire rescue departments operating drones and robotic systems.

“This new collaboration combining the power of the DRONERESPONDERS network with AUVSI regional chapters will establish a new model for government, industry and academia to work together for the greater good,” said Retired Chief Charles Werner, director, DRONERESPONDERS. “We are excited to establish this model in Florida before expanding to other states.”

Florida public-safety and emergency services personal with operational or oversight responsibility for unmanned systems or related technologies are invited to join the DRONERESPONDERS Florida Public Safety Coordination Group by contacting FL@droneresponders.org or by going here. Would you like to comment on this story? Find our comments system below.

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