Austin Fire Department given $80K grant to use drones for emergencies

Drones being used by the Austin Fire Department (AFD Photo)
Drones being used by the Austin Fire Department (AFD Photo)

AUSTIN (KXAN) — The Austin Fire Department has been given an $80,000 grant to use drones to help in emergency situations.

They are working with New York University to test and implement new ultra-speed wireless communications technology. That will be used to send data used from drone video to emergency operation centers in real time.

“Being able to fly over and get good situational awareness, being able to provide images and video back to our incident commander so they can make decisions to make sure that fire goes out that much faster… it’s a leg up for public safety,” said Coitt Kessler, program manager for the AFD Robotics Emergency Deployment Team.

Right now, AFD uses drones for fire damage assessments, firefighter safety and search and rescue.

To learn more about the deployment team, visit their website here. provides commenting to allow for constructive discussion on the stories we cover. In order to comment here, you acknowledge you have read and agreed to our Terms of Service. Users who violate these terms, including use of vulgar language or racial slurs, will be banned. If you see an inappropriate comment, please flag it for our moderators to review.

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