FDNY Deploys Tethered Unmanned Aircraft at Bronx Fire

Having conducted training over the last several months, the New York City Fire Department (FDNY) says it has deployed an unmanned aircraft system (UAS) for the first time for a fire operation. Specifically, the department put its drone to use for a four-alarm fire in the Bronx on Monday.

According to a Facebook post from the FDNY, the 8-lb. drone, which was tethered to a landing pad on the ground, was able to provide a “good view of the roof” of a building on 653 Corona Park North, says Timothy Herlocker, director of the FDNY’s operations center. In turn, the department’s incident commander on the ground was able to “view the firefighters as they were conducting rooftop operations, venting the roof and putting water on the fire,” he explains in the Facebook post.

“The idea behind it is to keep an eye on our firefighters while they’re operating on the roof where the incident commander can’t see them,” Herlocker continues. “That image is fed directly to the incident commander, and then it’s also shared with senior decision-makers in the fire department.”

In another Facebook update, Dan Donoghue, the department’s deputy assistant chief, notes that as the roof was “giving way,” the drone was able to offer “good visual pictures” of the impending damage.

“Being able to get a picture, as well as verbal reports, give[s] us the ability to make a better decision at the command post because it’s difficult to understand, even with the best radio report. Seeing it is helpful,” he explains.

On Twitter, the FDNY cites Daniel A. Nigro, New York City’s fire commissioner, as calling the technology “very valuable in the future for saving lives [and] property.”

 

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