The use of Unmanned Aerial Vehicles (UAV) in emergency services has grown exponentially over the past 5 years. At least 347 state and local police, sheriff, fire and emergency departments currently operate a UAV program in the US, and this statistic is expected to double between 2017 and 2018. Through more structured regulations from the Federal Aviation Administration, UAVs can now be used effectively in emergency services while still maintaining a level of safety and security for citizens.
During the FY-2019 budget process, the Brentwood Fire and Rescue Department proposed the development of a new City UAV program to benefit both citizens as well as the first responders. UAVs, or drones as they are commonly referred, provide cutting edge technology to assist first responders in situations like search and rescue, flooding, hazardous materials monitoring, structural and wildland interface fire assessment, railroad incidents, and damage assessment.
The Brentwood Fire & Rescue Department’s UAV Program has been developed after extensive research, attendance at drone conferences, and ongoing meetings with departmental staff and city administration to ensure the implementation of a safe and effective program that complies with all local, state, and federal guidelines.
Using the knowledge gained through this research along with input from subject matter experts, equipment specifications were prepared and an Invitation to Bid was developed. The second lowest bid, determined by staff to be the lowest and best that complied with all specifications, was submitted by Botach, Inc. out of Las Vegas, NV in the amount of $18,381.32. Botach specializes in public safety equipment and has earned an A+ rating with the Better Business Bureau. This quote includes a complete UAV package including the vehicle, cameras, software, and all associated equipment. A total of $21,900.00 was earmarked in the FY-2019 Annual Operating Budget for the purchase of a UAV and associated equipment.