Southern Manatee County Fire and Rescue with a drone manufacturer to test and fly drones to be used for emergency rescue operations.
According to the news report, Southern Manatee currently has four drones in their fleet and carry some of the most sophisticated emergency response equipment in the state of Florida, such as high-definition cameras and thermal sensors.
Recently, the report says, drones were put to the test during a sulfur fire at the Port of Manatee where a thermal camera revealed heat signature, or where the fire was hottest, and an air-monitoring device kept track of the smoke plume, aiding first responders on the ground. Rich Gatanis, drone team member of the Manatee County, believes "Early on, drones were looked at from a negative perspective. But what's happening now is they're starting to see how positive drones can be in emergency service response."
"We can see heat signatures, whether it's a missing child or a lost person, so it's really elevated that UAS platform to another level," Gatanis said. "Now with the drones, within 10 minutes we can have them in the air, getting that real-time information quickly," Gatanis continued.
Shawn McMullen, also a drone team member, believes the technology can really help them with their rescues. "We don't want to send someone into a combustible atmosphere. You'd have to send someone in there to find out that it is flammable so that saves us from potentially hurting someone," Shawn said.