Verizon Response Team drone piloting program takes off

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  • In the deployment of Verizon Frontline technologies, the Verizon Response Team (VRT) is in the process of certifying 18 drone pilots nationwide, adding aerial search-and-rescue and awareness capabilities.

  • Verizon Frontline is the advanced network and technology built for first responders, developed over three decades of partnership with the public safety community.

BASKING RIDGE, N.J. Verizon Frontline recently announced the launch of a first-of-its-kind unmanned aerial system (UAS), or drone, training program designed to enable members of the Verizon Response Team to support first responders with missions ranging from risk or damage assessment to search and rescue operations.

The program, designed by a Verizon response manager and former U.S. Army air traffic controller, consists of 30 separate blocks of training focused on bringing someone with almost no UAS experience to the point where they can deploy a professional drone in support of active response efforts.

This VRT-specific curriculum goes beyond that required by the Federal Aviation Administration to fly a drone under the FAA's Small UAS Rule (Part 107). While the VRT program builds on the foundational elements of the FAA’s requirements, prior to being able to deploy their drones, VRT members must first be FAA (Part 107) certified and obtain a Remote Pilot Certificate. This certificate demonstrates an understanding of the regulations, operating requirements, and procedures for safely flying drones.

Currently, 15 out of the 18 members of the VRT have obtained their remote pilot certificate. Nearly a third of the team has completed the additional requirements necessary to be certified through the VRT’s internal training program.

Following completion of the training, Verizon response managers located throughout the country will be able to deploy their drones to help meet the evolving needs of public safety officials and assist in the capture and aggregation of data to help first responders make safe and informed decisions as they respond to events such as hurricanes, wildfires, earthquakes and floods.

This VRT training program, developed with the current needs of public safety professionals in mind, is a continuation of Verizon Public Sector’s commitment to working alongside our partners in public safety and government.

Verizon Frontline is the advanced network and technology built for first responders – developed over nearly three decades of partnership with public safety officials and agencies – to meet their unique needs. From network priority and preemption and a commitment to real interoperability, to developing and delivering the most innovative product roadmap, Verizon Frontline is built on America’s most reliable network1, and will be able to harness the transformative power of 5G.

The VRT provides on-demand, emergency assistance during crisis situations to government agencies, emergency responders, nonprofits and communities on a 24/7/365 basis. VRT members set up portable cell sites, WiFi hotspots, free charging stations and other devices and solutions that enable communications and/or boost network performance.

1 Rankings based on the RootMetrics® US, state, and metro RootScore® Reports: 2H 2013-1H 2021. Tested with best commercially available smartphones on 3 national mobile networks across all available network types. Your experiences may vary. The RootMetrics award is not an endorsement of Verizon.

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All year, the Verizon Response Team has worked alongside first responders to assist in times of crisis with more than 2,000 engagements supporting emergency efforts.