When Sunday’s 5.0 magnitude earthquake struck Cushing, Oklahoma, my thoughts immediately turned to using drones to assist victims and first responders. Drones are increasingly used to locate missing persons, quantify damage, document the area for aid agencies and media, and even record evidence for trial. Here’s a great story on how drones are used in disasters: http://www.expouav.com/news/latest/establishing-standards-practices-drones-law-enforcement-emergency-response-professionals/
Two things need to occur: The incident commander needs to know if a drone operator is legal, safe and capable of meeting their needs. And the drone operator needs to know how to safely & effectively use his equipment to provide information to on-scene commanders. At a recent residential fire, we flew for less than 10 minutes, but provided the incident commander with immediate, actionable information he couldn’t obtain by any other method, including three ladder trucks which were obscured by smoke.
If you work in emergency management, learn how drones can help protect lives & property. They’re a tool that can make a big difference when you need it.