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 Air Navigation Order 2020, General Offence 8 - Flying within or close to an Emergency Response, states:
- It is an offence for a drone to fly “close to or inside areas” where an emergency response effort is ongoing unless permission has been obtained from the appropriate emergency response services.
- A Pilot operating a drone in the OPEN category who flies in contravention of the above will commit an offence against Article 265B(3) of the ANO for breaching Article 265B(5)(j).
- A Pilot operating a drone in the SPECIFIC category who flies in contravention of the above will commit an offence against Article 265B(3) of the ANO for breaching Article 265B(7)(i).
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.