Grand Forks Fire Department Expands Drone Program with Help from Northern Plains UAS Test Site

The Grand Forks Fire Department in North Dakota is expanding its unmanned aerial systems (UAS) program with the help of the Northern Plains UAS Test Site. Chief Gary Lorenz aims to increase the number of trained drone pilots within the department, not only for emergency response but also as a community resource. The collaboration between the fire department and the test site focuses on training, developing the Vantis system, and exploring ways to utilize drones for the benefit of the entire city, reports The James Town Sun.

Fire Department's Drone Capabilities

The Grand Forks Fire Department recently purchased a $10,000 drone that has proven to be highly capable. The drone can identify heat signatures, allowing to direct water streams more effectively when extinguishing fires. By flying above the scene, the drone can also identify compromised parts of a building, enhancing the safety of firefighters and the efficiency of their efforts.

Vision for the Future

Chief Lorenz envisions drones as in the future. The fire department is working alongside the Northern Plains UAS Test Site to develop the Vantis system, 's beyond-line-of-sight program. The goal is to acquire a waiver to fly drones beyond the pilot's visual line of sight in emergency situations, such as searching for missing persons or assisting someone stuck in a river.

Collaboration with the City

In addition to using drones for emergency response, the fire department hopes to collaborate with other city departments to benefit the entire community. An ongoing project involves using drones to capture before-and-after footage of parking lots to demonstrate the impact of traffic diversion efforts. Chief Lorenz also sees potential for collaboration with the city's engineering, water, and wastewater departments.

The Grand Forks Fire Department's partnership with the Northern Plains UAS Test Site is a step towards becoming a model for mid-sized communities implementing UAS programs. By expanding the number of trained drone pilots, developing the Vantis system, and exploring various applications for drones, the fire department aims to enhance emergency response capabilities and provide valuable services to the city as a whole.

Discover more from DroneXL

Subscribe to get the latest posts to your email.


Proposed legislation threatens your ability to use drones for fun, work, and safety. The Drone Advocacy Alliance is fighting to ensure your voice is heard in these critical policy discussions.Join us and tell your elected officials to protect your right to fly.

Drone Advocacy Alliance
Follow us on Google News!

Get your Part 107 Certificate

Pass the test and take to the skies with the Pilot Institute. We have helped thousands of people become airplane and commercial drone pilots. Our courses are designed by industry experts to help you pass FAA tests and achieve your dreams.

pilot institute dronexl

Copyright © 2024. All rights reserved. The content, images, and intellectual property on this website are protected by copyright law. Reproduction or distribution of any material without prior written permission from is strictly prohibited. For permissions and inquiries, please contact us first.

FTC: is an Amazon Associate and uses affiliate links that can generate income from qualifying purchases. We do not sell, share, rent out, or spam your email.

Haye Kesteloo
Haye Kesteloo

Haye Kesteloo is the Editor in Chief and Founder of, where he covers all drone-related news, DJI rumors and writes drone reviews, and, for all news related to electric vehicles. He is also a co-host of the PiXL Drone Show on YouTube and other podcast platforms. Haye can be reached at haye @ or @hayekesteloo.

Articles: 3484

Leave a Reply

This site uses Akismet to reduce spam. Learn how your comment data is processed.