The Kalispell Fire Department (KFD) in Kalispell, Montana, in conjunction with the Montana State Regional Hazmat Response Teams (SHMRTs), utilizes Small Unmanned Aircraft Systems (sUAS) for the purpose of aerial observation, information gathering, and emergency operations management with the ability to perform additional tasks as permitted by the Federal Aviation Administration (FAA) and governed by local, state, and federal rules and regulations.
The use of small unmanned aircraft systems (sUAS) to support fire department operations has become widely accepted as a low-cost tool to enhance situational awareness on emergency scenes. However, prior to their use, Public Safety Agencies should develop a detailed policy outlining procedures for the appropriate use of sUAS. The purpose of this policy is to establish usage guidelines that ensure compliance with local, state, and federal regulations and to respond to the potential uses of such aircraft within the boundaries of the host department and the State Hazardous Materials Response Team, or within the boundaries of another municipality who has requested assistance from host agency. This policy will give guidance on the operational and approval requirements for safe and responsible use of sUAS of personnel of host agency, while safeguarding individual citizen’s rights to privacy.