Fire department warns operators to keep drones away from emergency operations

The Kauai Fire Department is reminding the public to keep drones away from emergency situations.

Anyone who flies an unmanned aircraft system during an emergency response operation without authorization could be breaking the law and may be subject to significant fines.

“During recent brush fires and air rescues, there have been several drone sightings that came relatively close to our Air 1 helicopter,” said Fire Chief Robert Westerman. “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 (FAA), it is illegal to fly an unmanned aircraft system in or around a wildfire firefighting operation.

If you see anyone in the act of operating a drone near an emergency operation, you’re asked to call Kauai police immediately at (808) 241-1711.

To report a non-emergency concern or for more information about the regulations for unmanned aircraft systems, call Hawaii’s Flight Standards District Office at (808) 837-8300 or click here.

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