Pioneering Joint Drone First Responder Program in Fremont

image credit: City of Fremont, CA
Skyfire Spearheads Pioneering Joint Drone First Responder Program in Fremont, California
In an innovative step towards enhancing public safety, Fremont, California, has become the first city in the United States to implement a Drone First Responder (DFR) program across both its Fire and Police Departments.

Announced today, the joint DFR program was officially approved by the Fremont City Council on February 13, 2024. Skyfire Consulting collaborated with the city to develop the program, providing comprehensive services including consulting, community engagement, regulatory support—specifically acquiring a Beyond Visual Line of Sight (BVLOS) waiver—and specialized training.
The DFR program aims to revolutionize the way public safety incidents are managed in Fremont by deploying Unmanned Aerial Vehicles (UAVs) from fixed locations to swiftly respond to emergencies. These UAVs, operated by certified professionals, are designed to reach incident scenes ahead of traditional first responders. By doing so, they provide invaluable real-time situational awareness through live-streamed video feeds, enabling on-ground teams to make informed decisions, de-escalate potential threats, and identify hazards and rescue opportunities more effectively.
Matt Sloane, the founder and CEO of Skyfire, expressed his pride in supporting Fremont’s pioneering efforts. “Skyfire is honored to support Fremont in launching this historic DFR program,” Sloane stated. “Our team’s deep experience and commitment to public safety were instrumental in bringing this program to life, and we are confident it will serve the Fremont community well.”
The implementation of the DFR program was preceded by a successful pilot phase from November 2022 to January 2023, demonstrating the significant impact of UAVs in enhancing public safety, reducing response times, and safeguarding first responders. The program received robust support from the community, further underscoring its potential benefits.
In a strategic move to extend the reach and efficacy of the DFR program, a partnership has been formed with the Washington Hospital Healthcare System (WHHS). Later this month, WHHS is set to facilitate UAV launches from its rooftop location on Mowry Avenue, significantly expanding the program’s operational scope within the community.
Jeff Kleven, Battalion Chief of the Fremont Fire Department, highlighted the potential life-saving impact of the DFR program. “We’re proud to work with Skyfire to launch this groundbreaking DFR program,” said Kleven. “This program has the potential to save lives and make our community safer, and Skyfire’s expertise has been invaluable in getting us to this point.”
Fremont’s adoption of the joint DFR program marks a significant advancement in the use of technology for public safety and emergency response, setting a precedent for other cities to follow in enhancing their own public safety measures through innovative solutions.
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Miriam McNabb is the Editor-in-Chief of DRONELIFE and CEO of JobForDrones, a professional drone services marketplace, and a fascinated observer of the emerging drone industry and the regulatory environment for drones. Miriam has penned over 3,000 articles focused on the commercial drone space and is an international speaker and recognized figure in the industry.  Miriam has a degree from the University of Chicago and over 20 years of experience in high tech sales and marketing for new technologies.For drone industry consulting or writing, Email Miriam.
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