US: Determined to improve public safety, SkyFire Consulting is working with police and fire departments in the US to initiate the use of drones in varying aspects of their efforts. The public safety UAV consultancy firm is mainly helping Federal Aviation Administration (FAA) training and certification for public safety departments.
“We help [public safety organizations] identify their use cases, their missions, and identify what equipment will help them best,” SkyFire CEO Ben Kroll told Digital Trends at the Drone Rodeo at the 2018 CES expo. “We will assist with the FAA certification process and whatever route they want to go that way. We also do [public safety] training, we have several customizable training programs that we offer departments.”
Besides for training and certification, the company is also focussing on pairing the proper drones for the appropriate public safety department. For example, with fire departments, SkyFire teaches firefighters how drones can be location scouts with thermal imaging to see where they should focus on extinguishing a blaze.
SkyFire, however, does not build or provide custom drones. Instead, SkyFire helps public safety departments understand drone technology and know which drones they should purchase to best fit their needs.
Despite the beneficial use of drones for public safety, not everyone is on board just yet. Due to concerns about privacy, policies for drone usage aren’t yet that nuanced and some local governments may have even placed strict restrictions on the use of drones. These challenges are nothing new for SkyFire, as it works with municipalities and local governments to make the use of drones by public safety departments more acceptable and an actual reality.
“Politically, there is a lot of misinformation about what drones can and can’t do,” Kroll said. “We try to advocate to municipalities [that] if they are going to have sort of drone restriction or drone ban, make an exemption for public safety. Public safety can really use this as a tool.
“We’ve seen lives saved ultimately from the adoption of the technology.”