Menlo Park fire district tests out public safety drones

-  After helping to pioneer the use of drones for such things as surveying fire-ravaged neighborhoods, the Menlo Park Fire Protection District is taking on an expanded role in drone testing, the fire chief said Thursday.

 The department is beta-testing the FlightHub web-based professional drone management system to see how it can improve fire rescue operations, according to Fire Chief Harold Schapelhouman and DJI, the drone manufacturer that makes the system.

 In the past, the Menlo Park department has used DJI equipment for more than 120 drone flights to help authorities assist with search and 
recovery efforts and also to survey fire-destroyed neighborhoods, Schapelhouman said.

 The two entities have worked together to respond to emergencies including hurricanes Harvey and Irma and the fires in Yosemite and Santa Rosa, according to Schapelhouman.

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