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Honolulu Fire Department nearly doubles number of drone pilots as needs grow

HONOLULU (HawaiiNewsNow) — Some Honolulu firefighters are also training to become drone pilots as the department seeks to nearly double the number of operators.

Currently, 12 firefighters are part of this team, but with the increased use of technology, HFD wants to ensure there are more qualified pilots.

HFD has a fleet of drones that help fight fires, locate and drop off supplies to missing hikers and swimmers.

But Battalion Chief John Pacheco said they are finding even more ways the devices can help with rescues.

“Our abilities are just limited by our imagination to use it, he said.

Captain Jaimie Kinard said increasing the number of certified operators is essential to ensure there are pilots available at all times.

“It gives us more availability, more options.” said Kinard.

HFD expands drone program(None)

HFD’s program has grown so much in recent years that it even trains people from other city agencies to become drone pilots.

The Honolulu Design and Build Department wants to use the technology to perform 3D mapping and aerial surveys.

The Board of Water Supply also had employees at Patsy T. Mink Central Oahu Regional Park for HFD’s drone training sessions this week. BWS will use the drones for future projects but would not reveal more details about those projects.

“There are a myriad of regulatory hurdles that need to be overcome and since we’ve done that before, we can provide that assistance to everyone,” Pacheco said.

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