Our mission is to see a well-trained and legal drone program in every fire department in the United States.
We say it on every call with potential clients and have it on our website, but what do we really mean by the mission statement above? We believe that drones in the hands of well-trained operators, are one of the most important life- and cost-saving tools available to the fire service, and so we're dedicated to delivering the best training techniques, and most up-to-date information to our clients.
Our mission is embodied in a three-step process we call "The Skyfire Method" of Drone Program creation.
1. Get the Right Equipment
Every fire department is different, with varying use cases, budgets, on-staff talent, and geography, and so the best aircraft for the job is going to vary by department. This is why we spend the time to get to know our clients and their needs before suggesting the equipment they should use. While we're a DJI and FLIR authorized dealer and have strong relationships with W.S. Darley, we are by no means beholden to these products alone. We will find the best possible combination to match any department.
2. Get the Right Certifications
There is a battle raging online between Part 107 and FAA COA's with regard to public safety drone certification. While there are strong arguments to be made for both routes, we believe that a combination of Blanket and Jurisdictional COA is the most efficient way for a public agency to certify their drone program. There are many reasons for this but the most pertinent is simply: if a fire department is purchasing equipment and saying that it has a drone program, we believe that the department should also take responsibility for the relationship with the FAA.
While Part 107 is a tremendous way for a department to start using a drone on missions, it is an individual certification. This means responsibility for maintaining legal drone usage and applying for all necessary waivers falls on the individual operator, and must be repeated with every additional operator. With a COA, the department can self-certify all operators, which means you simply need to train new operators as they come in. In short, the more operators a department adds to their program, the more efficient and sustainable a department-level COA becomes. And since we are in the business of helping to establish sustainable drone programs, we recommend Blanket and Jurisdictional COA's.
3. Get the Right Training
This brings us to the last part of The Skyfire Method: training. We believe that a solid drone operator must have a solid foundation of piloting knowledge with actual flight time, which is why we've developed a specialized 2-day training for public safety agencies that combines a rigorous ground school with practical, hands-on flight training. While our training should not be used as a replacement for studying for the Part 107 exam, it does give operators a solid foundation of piloting skills, with the addition of several hours of airtime with the actual aircraft they will use in the field.
The world of public safety UAV use is a relatively new one, expanding everyday, with new techniques, information, and equipment released all the time. We've developed The Skyfire Method as a flexible platform for rapidly establishing well-trained and legal drone programs regardless of changes to the legal framework, personnel, or equipment.
For more information about the Skyfire Method, download our free Skyfire Method Infographic below.