Spring, Conferences and Podcasts

Well now that spring is coming, I think we are going to start seeing a lot more UAS use. Not just in general but also in public safety. It’s time for us all to start buckling down and getting our programs together. The NFPA is working on guidance.  The FAA is evolving how we can use UASs on the scene by evolving the e-COA into the SGI aka “Special Government Interest”.  It is going to be exciting times for all.

So with all this change abound, it might be good to reflect on the last few months. First, Keenan got to attend the nations first Public Safety UAS conference. (Click here for a recap).

At this conference we learned a lot.  How other agencies are running their programs, changes to FAA regulations and policies, and of course new tech. Keenan was also interviews on the AskDroneU podcast which can be viewed here.

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DroneU is a drone school that focuses on everything from showing beginners the basics to more advanced scenarios.  For them public safety is a new space as their focus has been on commercial applications.  However, they have tapped me to help them build their public safety arm.  What I think makes DroneU special is that you don’t only get a online training courses, but they have a community of folks that are willing to help each other out. This community doesn’t suffer from the normal noise of other forums.  The content is precise, direct and informative. DroneU is admittedly a for profit organization, however unlike other schools where can spend thousands.  This one has a no commitment subscription.  As well as reasonable in person training. Being in the fire service I have seen first hand how some organizations charge a lot for very little.  I promise you as I build this public safety program with DroneU, you will get the best value out of your dollars.

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Selecting the Right Drone

Drone selection can be daunting with so many options and new drones coming out all the time.  Check out our fourth episode that will help you define a checklist to determine the important features, applications and considerations you will need in making the right selection for you.



Part 107 vs. Public COA – What to choose?

When getting started with a UAS program for your agency.  There is a maze of various regulations that you have to follow. This episode will help clarify what direction you should take your agency to get you up and running as quickly and safely as possible. Check out the episode below

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My Chief Said, Get A Drone, Now What?

We just published our second episode. In this episode, we discuss the steps you need to think about in order to establish a healthy and functional UAS program for your department.


First Week In

On Sunday we launched our first episode of Saving Lives With Drones.  It is out introduction episode that tells us who we are and what we are about.  On next weeks episode, we will discuss the various public safety scenarios that public safety agencies can use UASs for.

You can check out this weeks episode here:


The Start of Something New

I would like to introduce myself.  My name is Keenan Newton and I am a Paid On Call Firefighter for a town called Lynwood, which is located in the south suburbs of Chicago. I have over 13 years of experience as a firefighter.  I am an Instructor II, FAE and Advanced Firefighter.  I was also a member of the rescue dive team back 15 years ago when Lynwood had a dedicated team. I am also a technology geek.  My day job has always kept me deep in technology.  I have worked for both small and large technology companies, most notably Microsoft.  Today I work for Fermi National Accelerator Laboratory.  I’m also a veteran. I spent 8 years in the National Guard as a Generator Mechanic, nothing glorious but I served my country. I mention this because it gives you some basis of who I am.

I am a firm believer in using technology to improve the effectiveness of public safety professionals.  Whether it is the use of enhanced accountability systems or thermal imaging cameras, technology has changed the way we perform our profession. The introduction of unmanned aerial systems, I believe will be another evolutionary step in the use of technology for public safety organizations.  Its ability to perceive information from a different angle will change how we size up a scene, all the way through until the after action review. However, with the ever changing regulatory climate, technology and the fact that this is pioneering technology, getting a UAS program started with a public safety agency can be a daunting task. I intend this site and corresponding YouTube channel to help gather that information and make it available to all public safety professionals.  Starting next Sunday November, 8th 2016, we will be publishing a video on various subjects on UASs and public safety.  We will also publish links and other information for public safety professionals on this site.

I am by no means an authority on UASs, I am constantly learning like you, and I want to use the technology to help save not only the lives of the our communities but our own as well. I encourage you to join us on this journey by subscribing to the YouTube channel and bookmarking this site. Together, we can help make the integration of UASs in the public safety space an easier and more efficient one.

-Keenan Newton