Fremont, CA Implements Joint Drone Program for Fire and Police Departments

Fremont, California, has established a joint Drone First Responder (DFR) program for its Fire and Police Departments, marking a first in the United States. The program, approved by the Fremont City Council on February 13, 2024, aims to improve public safety and emergency response through the strategic use of Unmanned Aerial Vehicles (UAVs).

Developed in collaboration with Skyfire Consulting, the DFR program deploys UAVs from fixed sites to quickly provide live video feeds of public safety incidents to first responders. This initiative is designed to enhance situational awareness, enabling more informed decision-making and potentially faster, more effective emergency response.

During a pilot phase from November 2022 to January 2023, UAVs demonstrated the capability to reduce response times and improve safety for first responders by providing advance visual assessment of incidents. Following the pilot’s success, the program is expanding its reach through a partnership with Washington Hospital Healthcare System, which will facilitate UAV launches from its location to cover a broader area.

Skyfire Consulting, a firm with experience in public safety UAV programs, assisted in developing the Fremont DFR program, including obtaining necessary regulatory approvals for BVLOS operations. This program leverages UAV technology to aid in emergency responses, reflecting an innovative approach to public safety, and a possible template for other municipalities.