UNMANNED AIRCRAFT SYSTEMS
Scappoose Fire District has been operating an Un-crewed Aircraft System (UAS) since 2015. During this time, we have taken several steps to stand up a public safety aviation program, a first of its kind in Columbia County. Our program is based upon several successful public safety aviation programs, federal government programs and borrowed many components from the military. The core of our aviation program is based upon Safety Management Systems (SMS), Aeronautical Decision Making (ADM), Crew Resource Management (CRM) and
All of our pilots are required to obtain their FAA Part 107 Commercial Drone License. we require an additional 40 hours of training (Basic Remote Pilot In Charge); which is above and beyond Part 107. We also require a comprehensive proficiency based skill assessments. These assessments have been adopted in NFPA 2400 and were developed by the National Institute of Standards and Technology (NIST) and ASTM.
Currently, we own and operate three small Un-crewed Aircraft Systems (sUAS). As of 2021, we have invested just shy of $8,000 invested this program. One of our aircraft was
donated in 2017 and another was partially funded through co-op funding.
sUAS are considered aircraft that weigh more than .55 pounds but less than 55 pounds and are operated remotely or without a human onboard. Our program is required to complete annual reporting to the Oregon Department of Aviation. All our aircraft are registered with the FAA and Oregon Department of Aviation Department. Additionally, our program complies with the applicable portions of ORS 837.300 - 837.399.
Our current aircraft is commercially available aircraft that is Made in the USA by a US based company located in Bothell Washington. The parts are sourced from the USA and abroad. 75% of the parts are domestic.
Our program, pilots and aircraft support the following operations:
1. Elevated Situational Awareness during structure fire suppression.
2. Wildland Fire Situational Awareness.
2. Fire Investigation.
3. Building Inspections (as part of fire and life safety inspections).
4. Natural Disaster damage assessment.
5. Hazardous Materials Situational Awareness.
6. Search and Rescue.
7. Training (Emergency Medical, Fire, Marine, Technical Rescue and Wildland Fire).
8. Requests for flights from other agencies on a case by case basis.
While this program is in its infancy, the uses are still being realized. In many situations, is is safer and more economical to launch an sUAS than to endanger a firefighter or rent a helicopter.
In 2019, we received a grant from the Regional Disaster Preparedness Organization (RDPO) to develop a regional public safety aviation program. Our project scope covers five (5) counties in parts of two states. We represent the Fire / EMS working group as the lead on this project.
We expect to roll this program out in the third quarter of 2022. This program will allow for any agency that is wanting to start a sUAS program the ability to have all of the foundational policies, operations manual, forms and framework for having a successful program. In addition, we have been granted two Certificate Of Authorization (COA's) from the FAA
to have certain restrictions waived to better support public safety aviation needs.
In addition to the core elements identified above, transparency for the public with this technology has been the focus and goal in building this program.
For more information, please contact the Scappoose Fire District.