Fire and Emergency, New Zealand Police and New Zealand Defence Force personnel recently joined forces to improve their drone operating skills. 

Approximately 25 people from all three agencies spent a week at the Army Training Centre in Waiouru improving their skills at a Level 3 drone training course. 

Commander Jeff Maunder oversees Fire and Emergency’s drone capability and says drones, also known as unmanned aircraft systems (UAS), are an important asset in emergency response. 

"We use them to detect hot spots at vegetation fires, complete rapid disaster assessments in natural disasters, locate people and animals in need of rescue, and they also help us gain situational awareness. 

"Fire and Emergency, Police and NZDF work together in emergencies and have been working together in the drone space for some time. It made sense to complete the training together as we all have different capabilities and skills and can learn from each other. 

"The collaborative training will allow us to better support each other and work together when we need to respond to an emergency or undertake humanitarian aid and disaster response work here in New Zealand and in the Pacific." 

This is the first time the three agencies have come together in one place to advance their drone operating skills. 

Jeff says the course is combination of lots of hard work by our UAS management team (Station Officers Matt Alphors, Jeremy Hull and Tom Kiel). 

"The drone operators are now well prepared and keen to get back and take the new skills they have learned out to the field."  

Here are some photos from the course. 


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