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Person under water sticking hands out - Drowning

Use Case- Flotation Devices

USE CASE - Flotation Devices

Scenario Overview:
In this emergency scenario, a person is drowning in a lake during the fall months, a time when fewer boaters are on the water. The 911 caller reports that the victim is struggling but appears to be treading water, desperately calling for help. Compounding the situation, the area is served by a volunteer fire department without a rescue boat, relying on mutual aid. The traditional response time for a rescue boat to arrive in rural areas can be lengthy.  As the situation unfolds, rain begins to fall, adding to the complexity of the rescue.

Scenario Details:


  • The incident occurs at a remote lake in a rural area.

Victim Description:

  • The drowning victim is approximately 70 meters off the shoreline.

  • The victim is struggling and audibly calling for help.

  • It's a fall afternoon, and the water temperature is dropping.

Response Challenge:

  • The local volunteer fire department does not have a rescue boat.

  • Mutual aid is required to dispatch a rescue boat.

  • Traditional response time for the rescue boat to be launched can be lengthy.

Environmental Factors:

  • The fall weather is setting in, and it starts to rain, reducing visibility and adding to the urgency of the situation.

Response Actions:

  1. 911 Dispatch (dispatcher):

    • Receive the distress call and gather essential information.

    • Dispatch the local volunteer fire department and request mutual aid for a rescue boat.

  2. Volunteer Fire Department (incident commander):

    • Respond to the scene and provide immediate shoreline assistance to the victim, if possible.

    • Establish communication with mutual aid responders en route.

  3. Mutual Aid Response (rescue boat team):

    • Dispatch the rescue boat immediately upon receiving the call.

    • Navigate quickly to the scene, taking into account the rural road conditions and weather.

  4. Shoreline Support (local responders):

    • Maintain visual contact with the victim and provide reassurance.

    • If conditions allow, attempt to throw a flotation device to the victim.

  5. Weather Considerations (incident commander):

    • Continuously monitor the weather and adapt rescue efforts as needed.

    • Ensure responder safety in deteriorating conditions.

  6. Communication (dispatcher and incident commander):

    • Maintain clear and efficient communication between dispatch, responding units, and the rescue boat team.

This emergency scenario highlights the challenges faced by rural volunteer fire departments when responding to water-related incidents, especially during the fall months when fewer boaters are present. Effective communication, swift mutual aid response, and adapting to changing weather conditions are crucial in ensuring a successful water rescue operation.

How could AFRS fire pilots compliment this scenario?

NOTE:  AFRS is currently in talks with a vendor to provide us automated inflatable flotation devices that can be launched from our drones.   Where this technology has been proven effective by other fire departments and rescue teams throughout the world.

We have a purchase order in hand, but we need the help of amazing people like you to complete the deal.   Please donate today to make this a possibility.

Rapid Response
AFRS dispatch can send our closest firefighter drone pilot to your scene.   Where our multiple coverage zones help expedite response times.  Due to AFRS operating as a public safety organization, we can respond in emergent mode depending on your situation.

As we continue to expand coverage areas, our CAD system supports AVL (Automatic Vehicle Locators), where this allows us to dispatch the closest AFRS emergency robotic response unit to your emergency.

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 dispatch can send our closest firefighter drone pilot to your scene.   Where our multi zone coverage helps reduce response times.   Due to AFRS operating as a public safety organization, we can respond in emergent mode depending on your situation.  

Enhanced Visual Capability
In the daylight, AFRS can see nearly a mile away with our visual cameras.   While the above video clearly demonstrates the benefits of thermal imaging in dark environments.

Thermal Imaging
AFRS's thermal imaging technology can easily spot suspects hiding in the woods, under vehicles, and various other situations.   Once our pilot locates the suspect, our lasers tell us the exact coordinates of the suspect on the earth.

This allows your team to simply enter the coordinates into their mobile phone and be guided directly to the suspect.

Effective Public Address System
We can use the drone mounted speaker system to alert other boaters that may be on the lake and provide reassurance to the victim.

All-Weather Equipment
AFRS employs enterprise-level public safety drones capable of operating in various weather conditions, including rain, snow, high winds, and freezing temperatures.

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.


Thank you for considering a tax deductible donation to AFRS FD
Image by Matt C


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

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