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Drones are coming to Rowville CFA Fire Brigade

6-May-2024 | By Ian Hockley (4th Lieutenant)
New and ever-changing technology is making its way into the Country Fire Authority (CFA) and Rowville CFA volunteers will be at the forefront. As an air traffic controller, Rowville Captain Cien Pereira identified drones as a valuable tool that could be used by our emergency services, where Cien has been a CFA volunteer for over 15yrs within the Rowville community. After putting together a proposal over 4 years ago for the CFA Chief Officer, Rowville CFA was appointed for a one-year trial introducing drone technology into CFA’s firefighting response.

The ability to use a Remote Piloted Aerial System (RPaS) will add significant information gathering options to firefighters and allow them access into areas previously restricted by terrain and conditions. The drones are fitted with 5K, infrared cameras that will provide live video feeds to incident management centres around the state. Decisions can then be made by the incident controllers using all available information.
The drones can be utilised for information gathering, search and rescue and planning activities and enable accurate community safety warnings and information which will keep our firefighters and our communities safe. Drones have proven themselves to be highly effective when utilising backburning operations to control and extinguish large fires.
The Rowville CFA Drones will be on call and will respond throughout Victoria when requested.
The use of Drones as a tool in preparation, planning and responding to fires will give firefighters a clearer picture of fire activity where previously it would be necessary to put rotary or fixed wing aircraft in the air at a cost of thousands of dollars. CFA drones can respond to an incident and on arrival on scene can be in the air within minutes, giving those coordinating activities an eye in the sky while maintaining the safety of firefighters and emergency services responders.

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