FDNY Deploys Drone to Battle 4-Alarm Blaze in The Bronx

The tethered drone allows Incident Command to get an otherwise unobtainable view of roof operations.

FDNY

Last night, the FDNY deployed one of the department's three drones on its first assignment. The FDNY Command Tactical Unit is responsible for drone operations and they used the new technology to help battle a four-alarm fire in the Crotona Park North portion of the Bronx.

According to the FDNY, the drone weighs just 8 pounds and remains constantly tethered to its take-off platform to allow for an unlimited flight time. A lightweight wire that transmits data and carries power to the drone instantaneously relays video to Incident Command as well as FDNY senior staff located in the FDNY Operations Center.

The live feed the drone provides allows the Chiefs operating at the fire scene to make an informed decision about roof operations and to ensure the firefighters venting the roof remain as safe as possible. Even though the FDNY has a great radio system and protocol, a visual advantage is huge when making important decisions like whether or not to clear the roof of personnel.

Last night may have been the first time the FDNY used the drone, but according to Fire Commissioner Daniel A. Nigro, "This new technology is going to make a positive impact in our fire operations."

Before each deployment, FDNY representatives contact the FAA to obtain permission for flying the drone at the scene of an incident. According to the FDNY, the approval process takes approximately 10 minutes and is done while the Command Tactical Unit is responding to a scene.

Still, at $85,000, smaller departments may want to start applying for state or federal grants to get their hands on one of these puppies.