Los Angeles UAS Disaster Conference in March to Explore Role of Drone Tech for Public Safety, Emergencies

A UAS performs a search and rescue mission during a disaster exercise at Florida International University in 2018.
Photo by Airborne International Response Team (AIRT).

Unmanned aircraft systems (UAS) have continuously demonstrated incredible value assisting with disasters such as wildfires, hurricanes, and volcanos. These catastrophic events have elevated the use of UAS technology beyond basic public safety and into an entirely new realm uniting stakeholders from government, industry, and academia all for a common purpose.

The inaugural UAS DRONES Disaster Conference (UASDISCON) Los Angeles is scheduled for the Columbia Memorial Space Center from March 7-8, 2019. The event will feature keynote speakers with vast expertise in using unmanned systems for fire rescue, emergency management, and public safety. Fire Chief Charles Werner (Ret.), Chairman of the National Council on Public Safety UAS, will kick off UASDISCON on Thursday, March 7, followed by Fire Chief Harold Schapelhouman of the Menlo Park Fire Protection District in California, presenting on Friday, March 8.

Werner, a nationally recognized expert in the use of UAS by first responders, will lead off the conference discussing the evolving role of drones by public safety agencies in everyday missions. The first day of UASDISCON-LA will discuss steps that government, industry, and academia should take to develop a drone program, and which types of missions the technology can be used for.

Day 2 of the UAS DRONES Disaster Conference | Los Angeles will begin with a presentation by Schapelhouman on how drones were used during the 2018 California wildfire season, followed by workshop panels that address how UAS are changing tactics surrounding disaster management. Led by Schapelhouman, Menlo Park Fire Protection District has been at the forefront of California fire rescue departments deploying UAS technology.

“The UAS DRONES Disaster Conference is different from all other types of unmanned aviation events,” says Christopher Todd, Executive Director of the Airborne International Response Team (AIRT) – a 501(c)3 non-profit organization which is the primary beneficiary of the program, according to a press release on the event. “The expertise that Chiefs Werner and Schapelhouman bring to UASDISCON is emblematic of the entire roster of presenters you will see during our two-day conference.”

Operated under the UAS DRONES brand, the conference will unite leaders, experts, and UAS operators for presentations, workshops, and live flight demonstrations of the latest UAS technology for disaster management. Expert insight, panel workshop discussions, and live flight demonstrations will all be geared toward helping public safety, emergency management, and industry professionals better understand and implement drones, the benefits they offer, and how to integrate the technology with other systems.

“The benefits that UAS can provide for public safety and emergency management operations are clearly evident,” says Schapelhouman.  “Each time we deploy these systems we build our knowledge based use case applications. It is vital to share this information with other public safety professionals and stakeholders to help responders mitigate the impact of emergencies and disasters.”

Proceeds from the UAS DRONES Disaster Conference series will benefit the Airborne International Response Team (AIRT), a 501(c)3 non-profit, non-governmental organization that provides unmanned aviation and aerospace capabilities to help people prepare for, respond to, and recover from complex emergencies and major disasters.

Registration for the UAS DRONES Disaster Conference | Los Angeles is now open. For more information on the event, visit http://la.uasdrones.org or contact Martha Donato at mdonato@uasdrones.org.