First Responders in Idaho Take Advantage of New Drone System

First Responders in Idaho Take Advantage of New Drone System

The city of Coeur d'Alene is testing a new system that with launch a drone ahead of first responders.

First responders in Coeur d'Alene, Idaho are testing a new drone system that will allow them to receive information from the scene of an incident before they arrive.

Currently, fire departments, police and other first responders have to arrive on scene first and then launch their own drones to get video and photos from above. Now, thanks to First iZ, a drone will be flown to the scene of the incident before first responders, relaying vital information before they arrive on scene.

The Coeur d'Alene-based drone company is testing its First iZ system at the Coeur d'Alene Fire Department Station 4. Department spokesperson, Craig Etherton, said the possibilities are "exciting."

"We are happy to be partnering with them on a project that should hopefully have some real positive gains for first responders in our area," Etherton said.

The drone system works like this: an emergency dispatcher will be able to press a button that results in a specifically designed drone launching 10 seconds later and flying to the scene of the incident in five minutes. A $15,000 HD camera aboard the drone will feed video to first responders en route to the call. 

The drone is housed in a climate-controlled port, covered with a lid. Upon command from the dispatcher, First iZ software will compute which drone is nearest to the scene, calculate a flight plan, submit it to the FAA, tell the drone's port to open and launch the drone.

The drones will fly at 200 to 400 feet up and be visually distinct with their wing shape and "public safety" markings. They will also have flashing red and blue emergency lights.

Access to the video footage will be limited to certain first responders and will not be freely available.

About the Author

Sydny Shepard is the Executive Editor of Campus Security & Life Safety.

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