Hello, My name is Lieutenant Casey Kerwin with the Milwaukee Fire Department. My department is interested in starting a drone program and I was wondering if there was any one out there that may be able to assist me. My knowledge is limited and I am looking for general information on different types of drones and which ones would be best for my departments needs. As always, money is an issue but I am willing to look at all options. Thanks in advance for your time.  

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What to you envision the UAV being used for specifically. Obviously it won't be carrying water.
Is it simply to get a camera up high for a better vantage point?

Maybe get in touch with some UK or Australian fire services, they have the most experience at the minute in really using systems rather than just hyping systems.


If you are really serious you might consider sending somebody for professional training,http://www.resourcegroup.co.uk/Services/OtherBusinessServices/UASSe...

At the moment the FAA will not permit use without a COA but as a public service entity you can obtain one. Your platform will be termed a RAPS platform. I'm chucking in abbreviations without explanation so you can enjoy endless dull minutes with Google ;-)

Thanks Gary for the links. I liked the videos in the UK one. I found this really neat video:

Lt Casey, I sent you a friend request.  I'm located down in Kenosha and would be happy to discuss your options.  My company speciallizes in UAV/sUAS systems for Law Enforcement and Fire Rescue.

And by the time you get a COA, the incident will be over.  As usual, our government can't get out of it's own way.

Gary - Don't you mean it will be termed an RPAS platform?

Hey Lieutenant Casey,

Probably lots of options to consider in helping you select the type of drone/s whilst defining your requirements including the skill sets/training/resources needed...

A few universities/companies/public sector have already run or running trials that will hopefully provide helpful info/feedback enabling you to considering the overall logistics/operations for running a successful drones program in your Fire department.

We briefly covered the following story in our eBook and I'm sure there are lots of other examples from companies/fire departments you can hook up with and gain their knowledge and experience.

Search and rescue drone trial:



uclan website


found this article


All the best FlightBots

@Quazimodo no the US have another category for Fire/Rescue/Police and the certification is handled by DHS its Robotic Aircraft for Public Safety (RAPS) 


The entry level to get a vehicle into the test program is at least 1000 documented flight hours...

So far the Fire case has been perhaps the best fit to date for sUAS. Really helpful for checking ingress and hot spots. The Police case has just been a fad. 

I forgot I have an entire feed of fire related stories


Gary - How does one keep up with all the acronyms? UAV, UAS, sUAV, sUAS, RPAS, sRPAS and now RAPS... and no doubt sRAPS...

With each of these acronyms having multiple interpretations, like air, aerial, aircraft, etc, it is all starting to get a bit ambiguous.

Thanks for replying, Yes looking for drone to carry camera for a better vantage point of emergency situations, down the road i envision it carrying a thermal imaging camera, but to start, i think just the camera, the TIC camera might be a little expensive to start.  

Thanks for reply, will look at these links, I am aware of the COA, right now i'm just trying to get a proposal together to bring to the higher ups in the department. 

Thanks AKRCGUY, will friend you. 

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