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More than 500 public safety officials trained on drone operations in NY state

One of the areas where do use of drones has advanced rapidly in recent years has been public safety. Recently, New York State Governor Andrew M. Cuomo announced that more than 500 students have been trained in the use of drones for public safety operations at the State Preparedness Training Center since September 2017. The Division of Homeland Security and Emergency Services expects to add several hundred more drone operators by 2020. See below for the complete statement.

More than 500 public safety officials trained on drone operations since September 2017

Governor Andrew M. Cuomo today announced more than 500 students have been trained in the use of unmanned aircraft systems, or drones, for public safety operations at the State Preparedness Training Center. The Division of Homeland Security and Emergency Services reached the milestone in April during its UAS Awareness workshop, one of four courses offered on UAS operations. The courses help educate public safety officials and first responders on how to integrate drones into their public safety operations. With the majority of the training season still ahead, the Division expects to build on this number significantly over the next year and train several hundred more operators by 2020.

“Through strategic and nation-leading investments in the development of drone systems, New York State has made great strides in implementing this technology into the state’s public safety operations,” Governor Cuomo said. “The trainings available at our world-class State Preparedness Training Center equip first responders with an expanded ability to assess emergency situations and fine-tune operations and response plans like never before.”

“As chair of the Regional Economic Development Councils, I have seen firsthand the evolution of our work to grow the high-tech drone industry,” said Lieutenant Governor Kathy Hochul. “This program to train students on unmanned aircraft systems is giving them the skills they need and advancing public safety in New York State. We are committed to continuing to build the program and train more students to improve operations and advance the development of drone systems.”

“Going forward, more and more public safety professionals will utilize unmanned aircraft systems to protect the public as they greatly enhance our operational capabilities in several areas such as search and rescue, damage assessment, and fire investigations,” said Patrick A. Murphy, Acting Commissioner of the New York State Division of Homeland Security and Emergency Services. “The drone training program provided at New York’s world-class Preparedness Training Center equips first responders with the skills and education necessary to perform these potentially lifesaving operations.”

New York State is a national leader in the development and delivery of UAS training for the first responder community, and one of only a few states to have developed such a program. The training program developed by New York State is highly regarded throughout the first responder community and is based on guidance provided by the Federal Aviation Administration. Several state and local agencies now require their pilots to complete this training program before conducting agency drone operations.

The UAS training courses offered by the New York State Division of Homeland Security and Emergency Services are provided to public safety officials and first responders free of charge. Courses are taught by a team of instructors from the State Preparedness Training Center, the National Center for Security & Preparedness, and the New York State Department of Environment Conservation, another agency at the forefront of drone operations.

The State Preparedness Training Center offers four cutting-edge courses in Unmanned Aircraft Training Programs:

  • UAS Awareness Workshop: Designed for representatives from public safety agencies that are considering the development of a UAS program. Includes an overview of UAS operations, regulations, challenges, UAS program management and counter-UAS issues.
  • UAS Part 107 Preparation Course: Designed to help prospective Public Safety UAS pilots prepare for – and successfully pass – the FAA Part 107 Exam. The Exam focuses on regulations, operating requirements and procedures for safely flying drones.
  • UAS Basic Operator Course: Prepares participants to conduct safe, effective and ethical UAS operations in a combined ground and flight school. Course topics include legal and ethical UAS operations, flight authorizations, crew resource management, pre-flight decision-making, risk analysis, mission planning, photography and video, and skill lanes and scenarios.
  • UAS Advanced Operator Course: Seeks to advance technical skills and judgement of UAS Operators through flight skills lanes and scenarios. Course topics include confined space/technical flight, low light flight, payload deployment, and advanced autonomous flight functions.

About the State Preparedness Training Center

Operated by the New York State Division of Homeland Security and Emergency Services, the State Preparedness Training Center’s vast array of training venues gives first responders an opportunity to train in realistic environments. Located on 1,100 acres, the State Preparedness Training Center’s training venues include a 45,000-square foot simulated city, a residential housing complex, collapsed building rubble pile, woodland structures, train cars and other settings. Now in its 13th year, the State Preparedness Training Center annually trains thousands of New York’s first responders including law enforcement, emergency medical services, and technical rescue personnel.

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Avatar for Haye Kesteloo Haye Kesteloo

Haye Kesteloo is the Editor in Chief and Main Writer at DroneDJ, where he covers all drone related news and writes product reviews. He also contributes to the other sites in the 9to5Mac group such as; 9to5Mac, 9to5Google, 9to5Toys and Electrek. Haye can be reached at or @hayekesteloo