Drones are to be deployed in Issaquah, Washington, US, this summer, to aid with search and rescue operations and aerial firefighting during potential wildfires.
The rescue drones will be utilised across the region by firefighters at Eastside Fire & Rescue as temperatures begin to climb heading into summer, and lakes and rivers become popular destinations for weekend getaways and holiday trips.
Captain Steve Johnson of Eastside Fire & Rescue said: "Sometimes it takes us an hour to get to a patient. And with a drone, we can get there in a matter of minutes."
Johnson revealed that the drones were bought through a generous donation and supplied by a drone programme managed and operated by Eastside Fire Corps volunteers under the direction of Eastside Fire & Rescue. The largest of the drones is a DJI Matrice 210-RTK, which can drop a life ring and a small Automated External Defibrillator, as well as a cell phone, down to someone in need of help. Whenever they are available, the drones – along with the pilots – can also be used by other fire departments and agencies in the region.
Johnson added: “There will be those times where there might be somebody stuck on a rock or on another side of a river who we need to drop equipment to, and we can’t get to them fast enough because we have to launch our boat. This way we can drop a life jacket or supplies to them on the other side of the river without having to put anyone in harm’s way. We can get that equipment to them faster."gew