Drone as a First Responder

How Drone as a First Responder (DFR) is a Game Changer in Fire Response

August 17, 2022
Editorial Team

Drone as a First Responder are eyes in the sky. The key benefit they provide is a bird’s eye perspective that no other tool (other than maybe a 100-foot ladder) can provide in an efficient and cost-effective way. Add a thermal camera to the drone and fire fighting goes from trial and error to a direct attack on the hotspots of a fire. For on-scene efficiency and effectiveness, using a UAS can tell incident commanders if trucks should be moved, if fire hoses should be adjusted, and what Alpha, Bravo, Charlie, and Delta corners look like at all times.

So how does DFR improve on the traditional model of drones in fire response? All of the benefits of using a UAS on sight can now be applied minutes before first responders arrive. Instead of adjustments being made in the middle of an emergency, incident commanders can plan ahead and strategically provide better outcomes with more data.


Drone as a First Responder improves fire response by providing situational awareness which improves decision making both on scene and before arrival.


1. Provide Situational Awareness for First Responder

With DFR, incident commanders have views of the emergency before the first truck arrives. Often, the incident commander may not even be the first one on the scene. Being able to identify hotspots, determine which side of the highway an accident occurred on, or decide how many truck companies need to deploy to the scene, firefighters can more efficiently serve their community.

2. Resource Allocation

A 911 call comes in and says a house is on fire. How many trucks need to be sent? The Odessa Fire Department would send 4 trucks to that scene. What if a barbeque tipped over and lit the back fence on fire? Do four trucks need to be lights and sirens blazing through the city to get to the scene? With DFR, firefighters can have eyes on in minutes and are able to gather the information that will save them time and allow for more effective responses.

3. Video Feed

“Some people are really good at painting me a picture. Some people aren’t.” – Tyler Henry, Odessa Fire Department

DFR allows for a trained incident commander to gather intel first hand instead of relying on descriptions from untrained civilians. Dispatchers both assist the caller and gather useful information that they relay back to first responders which can oftentimes be overwhelming and extremely difficult. In a world of rapidly evolving technology and in the high-stakes situations that firefighters respond to every day, reliable and consistent information is paramount. With DFR, firefighters have it.

Learn more about how Paladin can help you to be response-ready with emergency response solutions.

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