The Scottsdale Fire Department (SFD) has recently deployed three small Unmanned Aircraft Systems, also known as drones, in the three battalions in the city and an additional unit for Technical Rescue, after 14 individuals completed their FAA certification requirements.

The program provides the department with enhanced service delivery capability. The drones provide reconnaissance of fire emergency scenes with significantly decreased personnel risk. Drone pilots may also assist in incidents in other jurisdictions.

This aerial system gives members of public safety a distinct advantage when responding to various emergent situations and large-scale events. The system is equipped with thermal imaging that increases the speed of detecting heat sources in fire situations, and thereby decreases the danger to the public and the responding SFD personnel. Thermal technology is also utilized in hazmat situations to aid in the detection of hazards and provides critical information to public safety members.

Drones are also a valuable tool in the location of injured or lost hikers on the Scottsdale McDowell Sonoran Preserve and other hiking areas. They are used to increase the speed at which the injured or lost hikers are located.

This technology is also very effective in providing aerial views for brush fires, water rescues and technical rescue (like rope/trench/palm tree). The critical information can be securely transmitted in real-time to the Emergency Operations Center (EOC) as necessary.