The Rialto, California fire and police departments used a drone this past 4th of July holiday to stop illegal firework use. This was the first year that the San Bernardino County community utilized a drone to identify where the sources of fireworks were located, according to NBC4 Los Angeles.
The drone was launched over neighborhoods that were reporting the use of illegal fireworks. This prevention and response strategy allowed local authorities to identify trouble spots and alert resources on the ground, and then investigate the designated locations. The collaborative search effort featured one drone and resulted in the confiscation of hundreds of illegal fireworks and the issuance of 80 citations. Rialto Fire Department is hoping to obtain five more drones for mitigation and response purposes, and will apply for an exemption from the FAA so that more firefighters can become certified drone pilots.
NFPA research shows that thousands of people, most often children and teens, are injured each year while using consumer fireworks; and recommends:
- Do not use consumer fireworks
- If you want to see fireworks, go to a public show put on by experts who have a solid understanding of NFPA 1123, the Code for Fireworks Display
- Keep a close eye on children at events where professional fireworks are on display
For more fireworks safety tips, visit here. NFPA also has information on drones. Check out the article “Rise of the Machines” in NFPA Journal that addresses the world of possibilities with drones, and the ways that first responders are using them to keep communities safe.