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Fri, May 20, 2022

Aero-TV At XPO2022: Drone-In-A-Box For Emergency Responders

FirstIz Ready To Pop Up Onsite Giving First Person View (FPV) To Emergency Responders

Phil Burks, CEO and Ryan Labarre, Chief Innovation Officer of FirstIz both took some time out of their day to bring us up to speed on FirstIz…the drone-in-a-box.

Mr. Burks stated that one of the hats he wears is with the Genesis Group, a company that’s been providing software for first responders for about 30 years, PSAPs 911 Centers all across the United States. PSAPs are Public Safety Answering Points that are responsible for receiving 911 calls and processing them according to a specific operating policy.

One common thread/request was the need for situational awareness. They want to know what’s going to happen and what is happening, so they can respond appropriately and timely.  FirstIz took the idea of “how can we launch a drone and get it out there ahead” of first responders and turned it into this product called FirstIz, the result, a-drone-in-a-box. It’s a smart box created by Mr. Labarre, and they have the software that integrates in 911 centers which, with the click of a button, can launch into position. The ideal place for the nest is at fire stations. National Fire Protection Association (NFPA) standards recommend fire stations be roughly 2.5 miles apart, so it’s a perfect location for a ‘Drone Port) [the box] because it has power, backup power, and data connectivity.

FirstIz can deploy in under a minute (calling in, getting approval, checking with the flight boss just like they do with medivac, and deploying from the box). The time from door open to drone lift off is about 8 seconds and flies to the scene of the incident to give situational awareness to the responders. When asked about range and other capabilities, Mr. Burks stated that they have imposed a five-mile flight radius on themselves for now, and that they “follow all the legal laws and … keep it within line of sight.” FirstIz expects the BVLOS requirement to change as the market evolves and matures and added that FirstIz is currently flying all the way through their angular app, so they can fly off on an iPad as long as they have a visual observer to keep everything safe and legal.  The unit uses infrared to land in the pod with precision, without the need for human intervention.

FirstIz’s drone-in-a-box is currently undergoing in beta testing in their hometown of Tyler, Texas, at a fire station. From there, they are running test missions, and also using a mobile ‘Drone Port’ on a trailer across the United States testing it in different locations, including upstate New York and a few other places. Presently, they’re looking for that first customer, and alluded to a low barrier to entry wherein, they will lease the unit and charge an ongoing monthly fee for usage.

Aero-TV is a production of the Internationally syndicated Aero-News Network. Seen worldwide by hundreds of thousands of aviators and aviation adherents, ANN's Aero-TV has produced over 5000 aviation and feature programs, including nearly 2000 episodes of our daily aviation news program, AIRBORNE UNLIMITED, currently hosted by Holland Lee. Now in its third decade of operation, parent company Aero-News Network, has the most aggressive and intensive editorial profile of any aviation news organization and has published nearly a half-million news and feature stories since its inception -- having pioneered the online 24/7 aviation new-media model that so many have emulated.

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