Emergency Management Menu

UAV Program and Reports

search and rescue picture

The Utah National Guard supports search efforts on Sept. 18, 2015, following the Hildale Flood four days earlier. A video showing the flood path is available here and a video paying tribute to searchers is here.

The Division of Emergency Management maintains a DJI Phantom 2 quadcopter with an attached GoPro Hero 3 for documenting emergencies, disasters and for creating informational, social media and marketing materials. Information about starting a UAV program for public agencies is below. 

UAV on desk

The Utah DEM unmanned aerial vehicle, a DJI Phantom 2


We are required to report each use of our quadcopter, which we have yet to nickname, to UCJIS and on this website. These reports aren’t terribly exciting, but they demonstrate our increasing proficiency and great upcoming projects with this video-gathering platform.

2015 Utah Capitol Campus

The snow-covered campus of the State Capitol, as seen from the air, hours before 1,000 state employees would evacuate during the 2015 Great Utah ShakeOut earthquake drill. Captured with our UAV.


Maximum height we fly: 400 feet above ground level

Total number of flights since the program began: 19

Total flight time since the program began: 4 hours 04 minutes

2017 Reports
0 flights
Total flight time: 0 minutes

2016 Reports*
0 flights
Total flight time: 0 minutes
*no flights took place during 2016 while Joe was in training

2015 Reports
9 missions
Total flight time: 2 hours 8 minutes

2014 Reports
10 flights
Total flight time: 1 hour 56 minutes


Hildale Flood Area Flyover

Hildale Responders Tribute 2015

For public agencies seeking to start a UAV program

Public agencies are required to receive a Certificate of Authorization from the Federal Aviation Administration. It is a lengthy process, and the FAA is receiving scads of requests, but we can help you out. Please download/view the following documents to get started. We’ll add more as appropriate.

First contact template

COA Process

FAA guidelines

Register your UAV

FAA Small UAS resources (becoming a pilot)

KnowBeforeYouFly.org (FAA resource)

UAS Fact Sheet

Don’t Fly Drones Here (Mapbox)

Utah reporting requirements for law enforcement agencies (State Code)

DJI New Pilot Training Guide

DEM UAV Policy

Drones in Wildland Fires Fact Sheet

Utah Drone Legislation 2016

General Session
HB0126 Unmanned Aircraft Revisions
This bill prohibits an individual from flying an unmanned aircraft within a specified distance of a wildland fire.
House Sponsor: Rep. Kraig Powell, R-Heber City
Status: Governor signed 3/21/16
Third Special Session
HB3003 Unmanned Aircraft Revisions
This bill modifies penalties relating to operating an unmanned aircraft system in a manner that causes an unmanned aircraft to fly within certain wildland fire areas; makes it a class A misdemeanor to operate an unmanned aircraft system in a manner that prevents an aircraft, intended for use in containing or controlling a wildland fire, from taking flight; authorizes a judge to order a person convicted under the provisions of this bill to pay restitution; authorizes neutralization of an unmanned aircraft under certain circumstances
House Sponsor: Rep. Don Ipson, R-St. George
Status: Governor signed 7/17/16