Live streaming from drones helps 51 fire stations in Canada to save lives

At Halifax Regional Fire and Emergency, live streaming from drones is helping to enhance the safety of residents in the district. The live streaming provides important information on fires and their development, helping to save lives and property.

Live streaming from drones fire stations in Canada blog hero image

In eastern Canada, the city of Halifax is home to the headquarters of Canada’s oldest fire service, Halifax Regional Fire and Emergency. Although the fire service is the oldest of its kind, that does not mean that they stick to old working routines and habits – on the contrary. Under the leadership of former Captain George Kharma, the emergency services have optimised the way they work by integrating live streaming from drones into their rescue work.

According to George Kharma, live streaming from drones is an important and decisive tool that helps to enhance the safety of the nearly 500,000 residents in the district served and protected by Halifax Regional Fire and Emergency.

Amongst other things, live streaming helps us to locate and rescue people we can’t immediately see at ground level, in connection with both fires and searches. What’s more, live streaming provides us with important information about the fires and their development, which makes it safer for our employees to do their work,

says former captain George Kharma of Halifax Regional Fire and Emergency.

George Kharma adds that live streaming also provides the emergency services with an overview of a very large area, which helps the operations commander to make the right decisions and apply resources in the best possible way.

This video shows two firefighters on duty fighting fire with hose and water in trying to save a building from a blaze in Halifax, Nova Scotia. 


A user-friendly solution

Since January 2021, Halifax Regional Fire and Emergency, which consists of 51 fire stations in all, has been using IncidentShare. The solution has been the right one for emergency services because it can be used by many different units and is ready to go with a single click.

The reason we’re so happy and satisfied with IncidentShare is because it’s so easy to use. You just open the app or your browser, click on the red streaming icon, and the streaming starts up. This gives immediate access to everyone who is part of the operation and who needs to monitor the live stream. That’s a great advantage for us, because things often have to move quickly and we may have many different units working together on an incident, says George Kharma.


Another advantage of IncidentShare is that it saves the live stream as a recording, so that you can go back and review the proceedings. This function is important for emergency services, which use the recordings to continuously improve their practice.

After we’ve been on a drone-monitored mission, we often go back and review the footage. The recordings often contain important knowledge that we can use to improve in the future and save even more lives and property.


Halifax drone live streaming thermal footage IncidentShare

A thermal image at a scene where because of the difficult access to the area, the command was unable to see what the crew had without the live drone stream from above on their cellphone IncidentShare app.


Live streaming in action from the start

Just days after Halifax Regional Fire and Emergency implemented live streaming as a solution for their missions, they received a call about a fire and explosion hazard in an industrial building. George Kharma and another officer quickly decided that they would try out the solution.

We were having difficulty figuring out how the fire was developing, so we sent someone from the emergency services into the building, who could then transmit live from a mobile phone. At the other end of the link were both the command centre and the emergency vehicle staff, who could locate the danger areas with their own eyes. We were amazed at how well it worked, and it was a perfect start.

Former Captain George Kharma Halifax Regional Fire and Emergency has recently retired, but it is thanks to him that the solution is now being implemented in the emergency services. Ever since he first flew a drone in 2014, he has had a passion for drones and safety: A passion that has been the driving force behind the implementation, and one that he has not completely abandoned, either.


George Kharma Retired Fire Captain profile image

George Kharma

Retired Fire Captain

- Drones and public safety applications are my passion – some might say my obsession. What motivates me is to create a safer environment for everyone in our society – and in particular the emergency services. I’m going to go on working for that, even though I’m retired from the service, says George Kharma.