When a man found himself in the flooded James River, time was of the essence. Firefighters saved him in time, thanks to a drone.
A drone has been deployed to help emergency crews in the Ozarks for the very first time on Tuesday night. According to KSPR, first responders were called to the flooded James River at the Crighton Access Point, where a man was helplessly attempting to survive by standing on the roof of his car. Fortunately for him, the Logan Rogersville Fire Department had the aerial resources required to save him on hand.
“The technology is getting to the point where most departments are able to afford lower end drones,” said Tom Baird, who piloted the unmanned aerial vehicle in question. “It’s equipped with both a 4K camera and also an infrared camera so that we can see at night, see heat signatures whether that be from a vehicle or someone who may be lost.” We’ve reported on drones proving their worth in first response and search and rescue operations dozens of times before, with this incident continuing to showcase just how invaluable a tool these UAVs really are.
The time-sensitive issue during this particular event was alleviated thoroughly, due to the drone. Instead of wasting time by manually searching the river with boots on the ground, the fire department simply deployed its infrared-capable UAV and spotted the man quickly. “He was just on his car and had probably made some bad choices but we were able to get eyes on the person who was on top of their vehicle without sending anybody into the water,” said Baird. “We knew how many people were on the vehicle. We were able to access their condition before we sent people out into the water.”
According to KSPR, the drone was in the air and collecting vital data within seven minutes, letting the first responders know just how much manpower they’d need, or how time-sensitive the situation actually was. “It speeds the recovery process probably ten times over because you know if there are resources that you don’t have at the scene you can call those resources in,” said Baird.
Like many of us, Baird’s experience with quadcopters began as a hobby, but quickly became a tool. “The cool factor and flying the drone and seeing the live stream and seeing beautiful pictures, that’s all fabulous,” he said. “But when you get called out to do a water rescue or a search and rescue mission for a child that is missing, that’s what makes it all worth it.”
Fortunately, this drone-related emergency event resulted in a life being saved. The fact that it was the first time in Ozark history that a UAV was deployed as a rescue effort, is just the cherry on top.
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