Drones at incidents

We understand media and members of the public may want to fly drones to capture footage or photos of ongoing incidents. However certain rules must be followed, and permission sought in advance, to ensure emergency service operations are not impacted.

Kent Fire and Rescue Service has permission from the Civil Aviation Authority to operate its drone for operational and commercial use, including at incidents or for training purposes.

However, media and members of the public risk committing an offence if operating a drone near to any emergency service incident.

The Civil Aviation Authority Regulation ‘CAP 1789A: Unmanned Aerial Systems – Consolidated version of Regulation (EU) 2019/947’ and the UAS.SPEC.060 states under ‘Responsibilities of the remote pilot’ :

(3)    During the flight, the remote pilot shall:

(e) ‘…not fly close to or inside areas where an emergency response effort is ongoing unless they have permission to do so from the responsible emergency response services.’

Failure to adhere to their responsibilities under UAS.OPEN.060 Para 3 and UAS.SPEC.060 Para 3(e) is an offence, which would fall under the Air Navigation Order Article 265A Para 3 and Article 265B.

The Civil Aviation Authority has further guidance on using drones for both private and commercial use, including its Drone Code.

If you want to fly a drone near to an ongoing Kent Fire and Rescue Service (KFRS) incident, this process must be followed:

  • Contact the KFRS press office to request to fly your drone at a KFRS incident - call 01622 212 425 or email us
  • The press office team will speak to the officer-in-charge (OIC) who will consider the request and authorise you to fly your drone over the emergency response where appropriate – their decision is final.
  • If the OIC gives authorisation for you to fly your drone, you will be given a time slot, which must be adhered to.
  • If the OIC declines your request to fly your drone, you will need to respect that decision – if they say no, there will be a valid reason.

Please note, you may be required to show identification, including your flyer or operator ID. It’s against the law to fly a drone or model aircraft without having the required IDs.