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Public safety professionals share knowledge and experience at Droneresponders Conference in Virginia

Supported by VIPC, the event showcases advancements and strategies for lifesaving missions using drone technology

Through collaboration and innovation, we are leveraging drones and other unmanned systems to redefine the boundaries of emergency preparedness and response.”
— Chris Sadler, Director, Virginia Public Safety Innovation Center at VIPC

RICHMOND, VIRGINIA, UNITED STATES, March 28, 2024 / -- The Public Safety Innovation Center (PSIC) and the Virginia Unmanned Systems Center at the Virginia Innovation Partnership Corporation (VIPC) provided support for the Droneresponders National Public Safety UAS Conference. Taking place recently at Busch Gardens amusement park in Williamsburg, Virginia, the event was a gathering of first responders from around the nation who are utilizing unmanned aircraft systems (UAS), also known as drones, to enhance their lifesaving missions.

“This conference serves as a vital platform for first responders to stay ahead of the curve with drone technology,” said Chief Charles Werner, the fire chief emeritus of the Charlottesville, Virginia, Fire Department and director and co-founder of the Droneresponders Public Safety Alliance. “We equip them with essential knowledge for advancing public safety UAS, including developing effective planning processes, identifying gaps and leveraging opportunities.”

Over 600 professional first responders and industry supporters participated in the two-day event, nearly doubling last year’s attendance. The conference featured more than 60 exhibits, showcasing cutting-edge UAS technology for public safety. They included UAS training simulators, remote identification tracking, airspace awareness systems and innovative aircraft platforms.

The conference programming focused on assisting public safety agencies in launching or advancing their drone programs. Presentations covered a wide range of topics, including the use of drones for emergency response, tactical and strategic intelligence, hazardous materials mitigation, and water rescue.

In addition, representatives from several public safety agencies shared first-hand accounts about the critical role of drones in recent emergencies. These incidents included a crane collapse in New York City and the Lahaina wildfire in Hawaii. Officials from NASA and the Federal Aviation Administration (FAA) also provided updates on technology advancements and policy issues related to UAS development.

“Through collaboration and innovation, we are leveraging drones and other unmanned systems to redefine the boundaries of emergency preparedness and response, said Chris Sadler, Director of the PSIC. “The insights that are provided by the real-world case studies, combined with the information about cutting-edge advancements, are empowering public safety professionals to better serve and protect their communities.”

The Droneresponders Public Safety Alliance is a non-profit program. It has partnered with NASA, MITRE and NIST to create the largest resource center and online global directory for public safety UAS. It also works with the FAA to advance information, resources and regulatory changes to enhance operations.

"This conference has come a long way since VIPC partnered with Droneresponders to organize a small gathering at a Virginia winery five years ago,” said Tracy Tynan, the director of the Virginia Unmanned Systems Center. “The explosive growth from the seeds planted in those vineyard rows is a testament to the transformative power of UAS technology in public safety. It's inspiring to see this community coming together to share their knowledge and experience to show what's possible."

About Virginia Innovation Partnership Corporation (VIPC)

Connecting innovators with opportunities. As the nonprofit operations arm of the Virginia Innovation Partnership Authority (VIPA), VIPC is the commercialization and seed stage economic development driver in the Commonwealth that leads funding, infrastructure, and policy initiatives to support Virginia’s innovators, entrepreneurs, startups, and market development strategies.

VIPC also collaborates with local, regional, state, and federal partners to support the expansion and diversification of Virginia’s economy.
Programs include: Virginia Venture Partners (VVP) | VVP Fund of Funds | Commonwealth Commercialization Fund (CCF) | Petersburg Founders Fund (PFF) | Smart Communities | The Virginia Smart Community Testbed | The Virginia Unmanned Systems Center | Virginia Advanced Air Mobility Alliance (VAAMA) | The Public Safety Innovation Center (PSIC)| Entrepreneurial Ecosystems | Regional Innovation Fund (RIF) | Federal Funding Assistance Program (FFAP) for SBIR & STTR | University Partnerships | Startup Company Mentoring & Engagement.

For more information, please visit Follow VIPC on Facebook, X (formerly Twitter), and LinkedIn.

Angela Costello, Vice President of Communications
Virginia Innovation Partnership Corporation (VIPC)
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