The Cumberland County Emergency Management department was recently awarded a $5,000 Community Service Grant by CSX Transportation, which the North Carolina county will use to acquire a damage assessment drone.

Cumberland County, which is home to over 300,000 people and encompasses Fayetteville, Fort Bragg and surrounding areas, plans to use the drone to assess damage to infrastructure and homes after disasters occur. It will also help first responders with search and rescue operations as requested. The drone has a thermal imaging camera, high visibility strobe light and a loudspeaker for communicating instructions to victims or responders.

The Emergency Management department stated that the drone will further support the Cumberland community before, during and after disasters.