British drone provider COPTRZ is offering free online drone training for emergency services agencies–including mountain rescue teams—across Great Britain.
In addition, the company recently announced a competition to award a winning public-safety agency with a Mavic Enterprise Dual to support SAR call-outs.
English agency Holme Valley Mountain Rescue Team won the drone package. A spokesperson said the agency will put it to immediate use.
“I would like to see us using the Mavic Dual for moorland searches, getting the height advantage will be effective there. You can be [standing 33 feet] from someone but not be able to see them because of the marsh,” Mountain Rescue drone officer Ben Sheard said.
“When putting the drone up, especially with the thermal camera, you can pick them out very quickly. I’m hoping we can use it for that, and also de-risking areas we search on foot.”
Sheard added, having a rescue drone will make searches in more dangerous areas like quarries and cliffs safer
“It will potentially stop us putting our team members at risk where they may fall and have accidents themselves,” he said. “At the end of the day, the drone is a piece of equipment—not a person.”
The agency may also use the drone for water searches around reservoirs and rivers. “If we want to search the edge of a reservoir, we have to put a water team in with wet suits to search the area manually,” Sheard said. “Using the drone could be an option for this type of search too.”
For safety agencies facing ever-diminishing budgets, rescue drones offer a cheaper method of conducting what can often turn into a costly search missions, especially in light of greater demand for mountain-rescue services.
According to Mountain Rescue England, there were nearly 1,500 deployments in England and Wales in 2017—more than half requiring medical assistance.
Over the past few years, search-and-rescue drones have been adapted by a growing number of agencies and have saved lives in several emergencies.
In June, U.S. Border Patrol agents used a drone to locate three women reported missing amid a heat wave. The agency deployed a search drone team and, within 45 minutes, found the women, treating them for dehydration. In April, North Dakota police helped find a missing child using top-rated drone firm SkySkopes.
Jason is a longstanding contributor to DroneLife with an avid interest in all things tech. He focuses on anti-drone technologies and the public safety sector; police, fire, and search and rescue.
Beginning his career as a journalist in 1996, Jason has since written and edited thousands of engaging news articles, blog posts, press releases and online content.
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