By Miriam Raftery
June 19, 2017 (San Diego) – Cal Fire Captain Isaac Sanchez has asked media to remind the public about several new laws passed by California’s Legislature last summer to address problems raised by drones that interfered with firefighting, including causing delays by firefighting aircraft. Under the new laws, anyone whose drone interferes with emergency personnel can be charged with a misdemeanor and if their drone is damaged or destroyed in the process, they will not have legal recourse to hold emergency responders liable.
- SB 807 – Grants first responders immunity from liability for damaging a drone that is interfering with emergency operations. The measure applies to firefighters, search and rescue, emergency medical, ambulance and air ambulance personnel. It includes paid public employees, private contractors and volunteers
- AB 1680 – Makes flying a drone over a fire and interfering with emergency personnel a misdemeanor. Previously, the person had to be physically at the scene of the emergency to be charged. Now, only the drone has to be at the scene regardless of where the operator is located