Following up on a close call during a rescue operation last week, Kaua‘i Fire Department officials are reminding the public to follow flight safety rules for unmanned aircraft systems, also known as drones, during emergency response operations.
“During recent brush fires and air rescues, there have been several drone sightings that came relatively close to our Air 1 helicopter,” Fire Chief Robert Westerman said in a county press release. “I’d like to remind everyone that flying drones near any fire operation is not only against federal regulations, it is very dangerous for the helicopter and personnel on board.”
According to the Federal Aviation Administration, it is illegal to fly an unmanned aircraft system in or around a wildfire firefighting operation, and unauthorized drone operators are subject to significant fines if they interfere with emergency response operations.
If you see anyone in the act of operating a drone near an emergency operation, call Kaua‘i Police immediately at 241-1711.
To report a non-emergency concern or for more information about the regulations for unmanned aircraft systems, call Hawai‘i’s Flight Standards District Office at (808) 837-8300 or visit www.faa.gov/uas.