Drones

FOI Number: 22132

Where applicable, we publish responses to requests under the Freedom of Information Act 2000. This one, Drones, is detailed below.

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Freedom of Information

Published on 15 February 2023

Ref: FOI/22132 

RE: FREEDOM OF INFORMATION ACT 2000 REQUEST  

I am writing to confirm that the West Midlands Fire Service has now completed its search for the information you requested further to your freedom of information request. 

Please find below a summary of our findings. 

Requests 

1. Do you use drone technology 

2. How many drones do you have at your disposal? 

3. Do you share the drones with other agencies 

4. If you share the drones with other agencies, which agency takes priority in the event of a multi agency incident where there is a conflict of use. 

5. What capital expenditure has been utilized on drone technology between 2017 – 2022 

6. What is the annual revenue expenditure associated with maintaining your drone capability 

7. What arrangements do you have in place for crewing/operating the drones 

8. Please provide operational statistics detailing the number of times the drone/s have been deployed between 2017 – 2022 

9. Please provide operational statistics detailing the types of deployment i.e. what was the drone used for. 

10. Do you have a documented policy on Drone provision and use (please supply a copy) 

Replies 

  1. Yes, we reinstated our drone capability 20 months ago. 
  1. 12 in total- 6 X DJI Mavic 3 Enterprise Thermal and 6 X DJI Mini 2 
  1. No - however, we do support other blue light agencies if requested. 
  1. If more than one agency in attendance, we discuss and decide who takes priority, ie- if it's a fire incident then most likely Fire would take priority. 
  1. WMFS has spent circa £65K to support drone capability between 2017-2022 
  1. WMFS has a budget of circa £40K per year (since 2022) to support drone capability   
  1. We have 12 Flexi-Duty-Officers (FDO) who make up the drone team pilots> This is across 6 command groups, 2 pilots per group. 
  1. It has been just over 18 months since the launch of our current drone capability. During this time, we have attended over 140 operational incidents and gained over 3,000 flight hours, providing support in decision making for Incident Commanders.   
  1. Support Incident Commanders by interpreting the unique information gathered by drone equipment to increase the situational awareness by identifying or confirming unknown or known hazards, assessing the risk they pose, develop or contribute to operational/tactical planning, monitoring the plans effectiveness and safety issues. 
  1. This policy is being worked on; we work to our Standard Operations Manual authorised/approved by the CAA every 12 months.  

If you have any queries about this Freedom of Information request, please contact us. Please remember to quote the reference number above in any future communications.  

For service complaints, issues or comments regarding this request please contact The Public Relations Department, West Midlands Fire Service, 99 Vauxhall Road, Birmingham, B7 4HW 

Further information concerning Freedom of Information requests can be found on the Information Commissioner website at either the following link: https://ico.org.uk/ or at Wycliffe House, Water Lane, Wilmslow, SK9 5AF. 

Please note: Due to a migration and ensuring the accessibility of our policies and documents where possible, not all documents referenced in our FOI's are available. If you require a copy of a document referenced in our FOI's which is not linked below or is in a format that is not accessible to you, please email contact@wmfs.net.
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