BRAMPTON, ON: Brampton Fire and Emergency Services (BFES) will soon be taking to the skies to better support emergency response and safety for Brampton residents.
Brampton Fire has purchased three DJI Inspire 1 Pro drones at a cost of about $8,000 each. BFES has received the appropriate permits from Transport Canada, and undergone training and testing with the drones. This April, it will officially begin its drone program, and use them to support several of its core operations, including firefighting, hazardous materials response and technical rescue. It will also be a useful tool for evaluating training exercises.
Brampton Fire is the first fire service in Ontario, and one of only a handful in Canada, to be appropriately licensed by Transport Canada for this kind of use.
In addition to training and testing over the past months, a drone was brought in to support response to a fuel tanker roll over in a mutual aid call to Caledon. The drone was used to help with impact mitigation and cleanup by identifying the extent of any possible fuel spill into a nearby brush area, and to help locate nearby wellheads to check for impacts.
BFES plans to have the drones, along with trained operators, located at key fire stations across the city, ready for immediate deployment as needed.
Going through the right channels and getting the appropriate permits from Transport Canada was an almost two-year undertaking. Representatives from several City departments supported the project.
BFES developed and filed applications and permits to receive a Special Flight Operations Certificate from Transport Canada. BFES had to demonstrate knowledge of the program and how the drones were going to be used, and submitted an operation manual that they developed themselves, articulating how and when drones were to be used, maintenance, and protocols at scene and in specific situations.
Some requirements mandated by Transport Canada include:
• Constantly maintaining direct line of sight on the drone during operation
• Restricting flight to 300 feet above ground level
• Maintaining flight operations at a minimum distance of 100 feet from non-emergency personnelResources:
• VIDEO: Brampton Fire and Emergency Services' (BFES) new drone program takes flightQuotes:
“Our Fire Department is leading the way in designing innovative approaches, like the drone program, to help keep our residents and first responders safe. This is another example of our city embarking on creative new technology solutions to better serve our residents.”- Brampton Mayor Linda Jeffrey
“The drones program has already demonstrated its worth at the Caledon tanker roll over, and as it continues to develop, we foresee all kinds of public safety uses, including assistance in locating missing persons.”
- Councillor Michael Palleschi, Community Services and Public Works Chair
“This is an excellent new tool for Brampton Fire to enhance how it serves and protects Brampton residents.”
- Councillor Jeff Bowman, Fire Services Vice Chair
“It’s another way Brampton Fire is innovating and leading the way to better serve our city. Providing immediate access to real-time overhead footage, the drones will help our firefighters make better on-scene decisions about firefighting tactics and resource use.”
- Fire Chief Michael Clark
“We worked closely with Transport Canada to develop the application. The process was so new, we had to design our own permit applications.”
- Platoon Chief Paul Bebbington, Drone Program Project Manager
-30-Brampton is thinking bigger
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