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Tornado with dark clouds

Use Case- Weather

USE CASES - Weather

A rural Ohio town is suddenly struck by a powerful tornado, catching residents and authorities off guard. The disaster results in extensive damage, communication breakdowns, and logistical challenges, requiring a coordinated response to mitigate its impact.

Scenario Details:

1. Tornado's Impact:

  • The tornado arrives with minimal warning, causing widespread destruction to residential and commercial structures.

  • Most cellular phones and data connections become non-functional, isolating residents and hampering communication.

  • The local firehouse is directly hit, affecting the readiness of first responders.

2. Utilities Disrupted:

  • Downed power lines lead to a complete blackout, leaving the town without electricity.

  • Fuel stations are rendered inoperable, impeding access to fuel for generators and vehicles.

  • Debris from the tornado blocks several roadways, making some routes impassable.

3. Traffic Congestion:

  • Widespread debris and road blockages result in extensive traffic congestion, extending for miles.

  • The traffic gridlock hinders the ability of utility companies and relief organizations to reach the impacted area with essential equipment and materials.

4. Communication Breakdown:

  • The damaged communication infrastructure forces fire personnel to perform door-to-door checks to assess residents' well-being and injuries.

  • Inbound helicopters, critical for ground assessments, are delayed due to additional storms in the region.

Response Actions:

1. Initial Assessment (Incident Commander):

  • Evaluate the scope of damage, including structural and infrastructure destruction.

  • Determine immediate life safety concerns, including potential rescues and medical needs.

  • Establish an incident command post to coordinate response efforts.

2. Evacuation and Shelter (Evacuation Coordinator):

  • Identify evacuation zones based on tornado impact and potential hazards.

  • Create clear evacuation routes and coordinate with local shelters.

  • Alert residents about evacuation orders and provide instructions on shelter locations.

3. Search and Rescue (Search and Rescue Teams):

  • Deploy specialized search and rescue teams to locate and assist trapped or injured individuals.

  • Prioritize rescue operations based on urgency and critical conditions.

  • Provide medical support for evacuated residents.

4. Infrastructure and Debris Removal (Public Works Director):

  • Assess and reinforce critical infrastructure, focusing on clearing roads and utilities.

  • Coordinate debris removal efforts to facilitate access for response teams.

  • Restore essential services where feasible.

5. Resource Management (Logistics Chief):

  • Allocate resources efficiently, including personnel, equipment, and supplies.

  • Establish staging areas for responders and equipment deployment.

  • Collaborate with mutual aid partners for additional support.

6. Safety and Rehabilitation (Safety Officer):

  • Monitor responder safety, addressing hazards related to debris and structural instability.

  • Create rehabilitation areas for responder rest and hydration.

  • Offer mental health support to responders and affected residents.

7. Unified Command (Incident Commander):

  • Coordinate efforts among various response teams and agencies.

  • Make strategic decisions based on the evolving situation.

  • Ensure a unified response and effective resource allocation.

This emergency scenario underscores the challenges faced by a rural Ohio town following a sudden tornado strike. Rapid assessment, evacuation, and resource management are pivotal to mitigate the disaster's impact and ensure the safety of residents and responders.

How could AFRS fire pilots benefit this team?

FAA Collaboration
AFRS maintains a close relationship with the FAA, enabling rapid requests for Temporary Flight Restrictions (TFRs) around emergency scenes. This preserves airspace for incident command operations.


Interagency Communication
Unlike private drone pilots, AFRS maintains a contract with MARCS.  Where MARCS allows your dispatch center and field staff to easily communicate with responding agencies like AFRS.

Rapid Response
AFRS, when in full operation, can mobilize up to four additional pilots who can arrive on the scene within approximately 30 minutes.  This is due to our strategic coverage areas and preplanning measures.

Enhanced Visual Capability
AFRS visual cameras can provide amazing clarity up to 1 mile away.    This allows our firefighter pilots to pivot in one location and cover amazing amounts of territory while mitigating risk of actually flying the drone from location to location.

This overhead surveillance gives the incident command staff a birds eye view of the destruction and allows them to determine the resources required to handle the situation at hand.

In addition to streaming this content to the incident command staff, additional stake holders from the local, state, or federal level can be easily looped in using cloud based solutions that allow them to participate in live and recorded views of the incident.

Thermal Imaging
AFRS thermal imaging traditionally allows us to to see in complete darkness, but in an incident such as this... it allows us to identify human victims that may have been swept away by the devastating destruction.


In addition to locating individuals swept away, it allows us to see glimpses of thermal signatures of persons trapped under rubble.

Effective Public Address System
With wireless communications crimpled and most modern homes no longer embracing landline communication, AFRS can easily play messages from the sky at a range of approximately 300 meters.


This allows us to slowly patrol the impacted areas and make vital announcements regarding first aid locations, shelter, and food/water resources for prolonged events.

This ability to communicate to a community from the sky is a great amenity when traditional or modern communication methods are not functional.

All-Weather Equipment
With a recent tornado, the likely hood of additional storms and rain may be great.


AFRS public safety grade drones are not stopped by rain or high winds.   We can continue to operate and provide incident command the information they need in winds up to 40 MPH and pouring rain.

NOTE:  FAA visibility requirements of 3 SM may still be in play unless TFR or other authorization is granted to circumvent that rule to protect national airspace.

Continuous Flight Time

Each AFRS pilot carries sufficient batteries and onboard mobile charging to maintain near-continuous flight. Quick battery swaps allow for a 45-second downtime between flights.

Seamless Collaboration

AFRS vehicles are equipped with redundant internet connections, utilizing Firstnet and other data providers. This ensures secure streaming of content to incident command staff and stakeholders anywhere in the world.

Documentation and Review
All drone footage is recorded for post-incident analysis. Detailed video timestamps and coordinates enable easy documentation of important milestones.

This data can prove to be valuable for reimbursement from insurance companies or for court purposes.

Training Resources
Archived videos remain accessible for years after the incident. This valuable resource allows your team to incorporate real-life scenarios into future training sessions and benefits first responders worldwide.


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YOU MATTER! Join AFRS and Make a Difference ​ At AFRS, we believe that many hands make light work, and your talents and wisdom can help us provide amazing emergency services to those in need. ​ We take pride in offering remote-friendly opportunities, respecting the time you dedicate to others. In many cases, you can volunteer from the comfort of your home. ​ Please note that all volunteers are subject to background checks and license verification where applicable.   Interested persons should send their resume and cover letter to ​ ​ Current Volunteer Positions Available: ​ BOARD MEMBERS Our bylaws require all board members to have active/retired experience in Fire, EMS, peace officers, military, or be actively employed by a national infrastructure organization (hospital, transportation, utilities, etc). ​ Board members should be able to: Effectively communicate Work remotely Participate in committees Promote AFRS Attend monthly meetings (remotely) ​ Board members can expect: Regular email communication Attendance at monthly online board meetings Acting in the best interest of AFRS Occasional attendance at functions or group meetings with AFRS customers/vendors Minimum term of office: 3 years The ideal candidate for this position would have prior board experience and uphold high moral standards. FIREFIGHTERS AFRS relies on Ohio certified firefighters to operate our public safety grade drones. Fire pilots should be able to: Perform regular firefighter duties.  - Waivers may be possible in some cases Work remotely without direct supervision Attend monthly meetings (remotely) Operate electronic devices and computers Hold an active Fire 1/2 certification Hold or obtain an FAA 107 pilot's license with night ops certification Have a clean driving record and valid driver's license Function in high-stress environments and dynamic situations ​ Fire pilots can expect: 12-hour shifts (0600-1800 or 1800-0600) No more than 36 hours of volunteer/work per week Exposure to elements and dynamic situations Rewarding training and experiences Life insurance and LOD benefits Disability/injury benefits Remote-friendly environment in many cases Leadership buy-in and genuine appreciation Live drone prophecy test ​ The ideal candidate for this position would be a certified firefighter who holds a FAA 107 license and NFPA 2400 training. ​ Considerations will be made to train up the right candidates to become drone pilots and obtain their NFPA 2400 training. ​ Candidates should also be passionate about their community and eager to learn new technologies that enhance public safety. ​ ​ DISPATCHERS AFRS recognizes the vital role that dispatchers play in our success. They are the "voice" that enables amazing things to happen within our organization. ​ AFRS dispatchers have the ability to work from home anywhere in the United States. ​ Dispatchers should be able to: Effectively communicate via voice, text, and email Have moderate or advanced computer skills Work alone and unsupervised without micro-management Adhere to policies and procedures Provide a stable/reliable internet connection from home Provide a stable/reliable Windows PC, Chromebook, or Android tablet Maintain a quiet background when handling telephone or radio activities Utilize web-based tools such as Google Maps, Open Maps, weather apps, chat, video conference, and others ​ Dispatchers can expect: Flexible shifts that suit your availability No more than 36 hours per week Fast-paced and rewarding environment Communicating with other government agencies on recorded lines Remote-friendly environment for anyone based in the US Leadership that truly values your contributions Making a difference in others' lives and enhancing community safety Regular training and one-on-one mentoring ​ Ideal candidates for this position include individuals passionate about serving the public and eager to learn new skills. ​ ​ SOCIAL MEDIA / VIDEO EDITING AFRS's emergency robotics capture a vast amount of data, including photos and videos that may need to be processed for marketing, fundraising, and training purposes. ​ This remote-friendly position is open to volunteers anywhere in the United States. ​ Social media volunteers should be able to: Perform post-processing of video content Interact with various social media platforms (TikTok, YouTube, LinkedIn, Facebook, etc.) Process messages and respond professionally Review statistical data from each social media platform and relay trends to leadership Create slideshows or collections for gallery display or training purposes Resize, edit, crop, and alter images and video Attend monthly membership meetings Accomplish tasks without direct supervision ​ Social media volunteers can expect: Flexible schedules that fit your life No more than 36 hours per week Team environment Remote-friendly - Work from home ​ Interested persons should send their resume and cover letter to

Image by Andrew Gaines
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