Fairfax looks for feedback on its drone programs

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News release from Fairfax Emergency Services

Fairfax County sees drones in its future. County officials think drones will be a valuable tool in search and rescue, firefighting, wildlife management and many other applications, so they’re working up a program that encompasses all those functions and looking for public feedback at six upcoming meetings.

Everything needs an acronym and this one is UAS, short for Public Safety Unmanned Aircraft Systems. Agencies involved include the Office of Emergency Management, County Attorney’s Office, Police, and Fire and Rescue Department.  

The county says potential drone applications include:

 

  • Search and rescue.
  • Flooding assessment.
  • Pre- and post-disaster damage assessment.
  • Transportation management.
  • Crash reconstruction.
  • Fire incident/scene management and investigations.
  • Hazardous materials responses.
  • Situational awareness for wildlife management.
  • Terrain mapping.

 

Perhaps anticipating concerns about privacy, the county says the drones will not be used for any of these purpposes:

 

  • To conduct random surveillance activities.
  • To target a person based solely on individual characteristics, such as, but not limited to race, ethnicity, gender, national origin, religion, or disability.
  • To harass, intimidate or discriminate against any individual or group.
  • To conduct personal business or any other unauthorized use.

 

There will be four public meetings to discuss the program (times and places below). If you have an opinion but want to skip the meetings, you can send your feedback or questions to uas@fairfaxcounty.gov. Written comments on the draft program must be received by the close of business Feb. 8, 2019 to be included in the official public record.

Public Information Meeting Dates/Times

Jan. 14 (6:30-8:30 p.m.)
Mason District Governmental Center (Community Room)
6507 Columbia Pike, Annandale

Jan. 16 (6:30-8:30 p.m.)
South County Governmental Center (Room 221C)
8350 Richmond Highway, Alexandria

Jan. 23 (6:30-8:30 p.m.)
McLean District Governmental Center
1437 Balls Hill Road, McLean

Jan. 24 (6:30-8:30 p.m.)
Sully District Governmental Center
4900 Stonecroft Blvd, Chantilly

Jan. 28 (6:30-8:30 p.m.)
Reston Community Center – Hunter Woods
2310 Colts Neck Road, Reston

Jan. 30 (6:30-8:30 p.m.)
Braddock Hall – Kings Park Library
9002 Burke Lake Road, Burke

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