SDIS Drone Program History
In 2015, several of our fire district members expressed interest in utilizing drone technology for fire service operations including rescue and post-fire activities. They laid out their plan to help limit exposure to staff at fire scenes while conducting searches. The use of a drone would allow them to scan the scene immediately and help reduce the cost of other aircraft to conduct the search.
Though we saw this as a great opportunity for our members, we saw several challenges. Our liability coverage document expressly excluded anything related to aircraft flight operations. Management staff decided to find a way to cover drone operations. In addition to helping the fire service, we saw this as an opportunity to provide training, guidance, and coverage to all members. Our risk management team also saw this as a way to help our members eliminate staff from having to access the more hazardous areas during inspections (e.g. roofs, irrigation flumes, bridges, dam faces, piers, etc.).
SDIS Liability Coverage
It is important for you to remember that in order to have liability coverage for your drone operations, you must be able to prove you were in compliance with all federal, state and local laws at the time of the claim.