Large scale events are a challenge for any organization, and UAS programs are no different. The better prepared your team is, the more likely the event will go well.
Clearly establish what your drones will be doing on scene – and brief your leadership and teams. All stakeholders need to have a clear understanding of what your mission will be, and often what you won't be responsible for. When expectations differ, things can fall through the cracks.
Coordinate with other teams (SWAT, Hazmat, Bomb Techs, Surveillance) as available, and establish communications protocols between these teams ahead of time.
Assess your pilots' preparedness and qualifications to fly and be sure everyone involved understands their roles during the event.
Make sure you're aware of any flight restrictions and weather limitations. Know the capabilities of your drones and sensors and devote plenty of time to get a solid understanding of any limitations of the network you will be using during the event.
Run through all your preparations ahead of time and have a plan for gathering all equipment and supplies. Redundancy is key!
Finally, don't forget the physical needs of your pilots and visual observers – shelter, sunshades, water, meals, facility access, and parking. Remember that your operators are the most critical component of your platform!
Large scale events pose a tremendous number of challenges for UAS operations. As a participant, you will need to do the upfront work of understanding the scope of the event, identifying your organization’s mission and role, and working with partners and stakeholders to ensure all the logistics have been worked out. It’s a lot of work; but with each event your program will increasingly be seen as a vital function in your community. We at DroneSense are committed to the success of our Public Safety customers, and we’re excited to help.