Skyfire and Fremont, CA pioneer joint Drone First Responder program

March 7, 2024

Fremont DFR program: Enhancing situational awareness and response

Skyfire Consulting (Skyfire), a leading public safety UAS consulting group, today announced its partnership with the Fremont, California Fire and Police Departments in launching a unique Drone First Responder (DFR) program in the United States.

The Fremont City Council approved this initiative on February 13, 2024.

Skyfire’s role includes consulting, community engagement, regulatory support for Beyond Visual Line of Sight (BVLOS) operations, and training, all aimed at improving public safety and emergency response times.

The Fremont DFR program employs Unmanned Aerial Vehicles (UAVs) dispatched from fixed locations to quickly address public safety incidents.

These UAVs are operated by certified professionals and reach the scene before other first responders, providing essential live-streamed video for real-time situational awareness.

This information is critical for responders to make informed decisions, de-escalate situations when possible, and identify potential hazards and rescue opportunities.

Matt Sloane, Skyfire founder and CEO, said: “Skyfire is honored to support Fremont in launching this historic DFR program.

“Our team’s deep experience and commitment to public safety were instrumental in bringing this program to life, and we are confident it will serve the Fremont community well.”

Community support and pilot program success

The Fremont Police and Fire Departments, backed by strong community support, conducted a successful pilot program from November 2022 to January 2023.

This program demonstrated the effectiveness of DFR in enhancing public safety, reducing response times, and ensuring the safety of first responders.

Expanding DFR reach with Washington Hospital Healthcare System

In a significant development, the Fremont DFR program has partnered with Washington Hospital Healthcare System (WHHS).

This partnership will see UAV launches from WHHS’s rooftop on Mowry Avenue, further extending the program’s reach and response capabilities within the community.

Jeff Kleven, Battalion Chief of the Fremont Fire Department, stated: “We’re proud to work with Skyfire to launch this groundbreaking DFR program.

This program has the potential to save lives and make our community safer, and Skyfire’s expertise has been invaluable in getting us to this point.”

Skyfire’s proven track record in DFR

Skyfire, with a decade of experience, brings extensive knowledge to the Fremont DFR program.

The consultancy has supported numerous public safety drone programs across the country.

In 2019, Skyfire notably assisted in obtaining FAA approval for the nation’s first active emergency response Certificate of Authorization (COA) with a BVLOS provision for public safety, alongside the Chula Vista Police Department (CVPD) and the City of San Diego.

This accomplishment highlights Skyfire’s dedication to advancing drone technology for the public good.

FSJA Comment

The Fremont DFR program marks a significant milestone in the application of drone technology for public safety.

By incorporating UAVs into emergency response scenarios, Fremont sets a precedent for other cities to follow.

The collaboration between Skyfire Consulting and Fremont’s Police and Fire Departments showcases the potential of technology to enhance public safety.

The program’s success in the pilot phase, coupled with the expanding partnership with WHHS, illustrates the practical benefits of drones in improving situational awareness and reducing response times.

This initiative represents an innovative approach to public safety, demonstrating the evolving role of technology in aiding first responders and potentially saving lives.

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