Editor's Note

DHS Plans Public Survey On Perceptions Of First Responders’ Drone Use

The Department of Homeland Security’s Science and Technology (S&T) Directorate is creating a survey it will release to the public to gather “perceptions and acceptance” on the use of unmanned aircraft systems by first responders in an effort ultimately aimed at helping them with their outreach to the public regarding the use of drones to support their operations.

“The survey will ask respondents to report their demographic characteristics, their knowledge of unmanned aircraft systems (UAS), their knowledge of the use of UAS by first responders, their overall trust in the use of new technologies by the government and first responders, their general attitudes about such use, and their opinions about the use of drones by first responders for specific applications like search-and-rescue,” S&T says in a notice published in the Federal Register on June 9. “The survey will also ask respondents to evaluate the effectiveness of different test messages that we have created to deliver information to the public about first responder drone applications.”

The "Understanding Public Perception and Acceptance of First Responders Use of Unmanned Aircraft Systems" survey stems from challenges to first responder agencies being able to use drones to help carry out their missions due to privacy and safety concerns from citizens, civil rights groups and local governments, a spokesman for DHS S&T told Defense Daily on Wednesday.

The survey is being developed by S&T’s behavioral scientists, he said.

Once the survey is published and responses are in, the results will be used to identify “concerns and develop a set of communications guides and materials that can be shared with local first responder agencies to support their outreach efforts and respond to the public’s key concerns,” the spokesman said.

S&T, through the Federal Register notice, is seeking comments on the proposed survey.

Receive the latest avionics news right to your inbox