How Phoenix Fire Brigade Helps Drones Fight Fire

Phoenix Fire Chief Daniel Chisam stands next to the drone on June 22, 2022 in the Phoenix Fire Department Special Operation on 22nd Avenue in Phoenix.

Department head Daniel Chisam switched controls when he saw one of the three new fire department drones pointed over a pile of rubble. The engine spun on Wednesday while floating on a concrete slab and beat-up bus in a practice operation outside the Phoenix Fire Department’s special operations area.

Cheatham is the program manager for the Fire Department’s newly created unmanned aerial vehicle system program, launched earlier this month to improve the efficiency and safety of firefighter missions.

At a news event on Wednesday, Chee Sam and other Phoenix firefighters showed how to use a drone to help fight a fire. Since June 6, the program has overseen more than 10 missions, providing reconnaissance to firefighters handling brushes and building fires, Cheesam said.

Captain Kenny Overton, a spokesman for the agency, said the drone was worth helping the commander make quick decisions during dangerous operations.

Wednesday, June 22, 2022, close-up of a table drone outside the Phoenix Fire Department Special Operations Building in Phoenix, Arizona. Currently, there are three unmanned drones used by the Phoenix Fire Department for reconnaissance and other purposes.

The drone has a 360-degree orbital view and can fly over or beside an emergency area, eliminating the potential risk to firefighters. During a building fire, a live feed from the drone informs command staff how the incident is progressing, whether the fire response was successful, or whether adjustments are needed.

Dangerous goods situations are one of the most dangerous for firefighters, but drones can provide a highly needed buffer, Overton said. He demonstrated this by having Cheetham fly a drone on a bus at the top of a rubble hill. Its mechanical blades were blurry as they moved around the vehicle. Drones close the gap in information that dispatchers and callers can’t, Mr Overton said.

Leave a Comment