Located outside Tampa, Florida, Southern Manatee Fire & Rescue (SMFR) is South Manatee County’s local fire department with five stations within the county. They started their drone program back in 2015 and have since utilized drones as a first-out response asset.
SMFR’s HazMat team initially acquired the drones to assist with hazard identification during hazardous materials responses. Since then, they’ve began developing ways to use the drones to carry sensitive metering devices into the “hot zone” in an effort to speed up the reconnaissance portion of their information gathering. Additionally, they use their drones to test if an atmosphere is potentially flammable with the presence of a drone.
The AR/Moverio capability within their program is aligned with OCFRD. The glasses allow firefighters to avoid obstacles, maintain visual-line-of-sight of the craft and keep relevant data in front of them – all without requiring them to look away at a display monitor. The view of the drone camera is projected in front of their eyes and they are able to utilize thermal imaging among a variety of camera displays.