Coffee County Rescue Squad is looking at adding to its extensive collection of lifesaving tools with a rescue drone.
“We try to stay up on the game, otherwise you’re way behind to start with,” said Chief Neal Simmons. “We feel that a drone is the next step.”
The rescue squad officers have elected to take a percentage of the all the fundraiser money to use toward the drone. Prices range from $19,000-35,000.
Simmons said that four or five members intend to become FAA certified to operate the drones.
“We have the interest to do it. Now we just have to come up with the funds,” Simmons said.
The drone will be used in missing persons, lost and stalled boater rescues and even at fires to get an aerial view of the situation.
“The one we’re looking at has a camera, a FLIR (infrared camera) for night, GPS coordinates displayed, so you’ll know exactly where it’s at if it locates somebody,” Simmons said.
Simmons said that the drone’s range is the biggest difference that an off-the-shelf personal drone. A big box store drone might be able to travel a few hundred feet, while the rescue drone will be able to cover four to five miles and stay aloft much longer.
Long term plans may include an ROV that will extend the squad’s underwater rescue capabilities. Currently the squad uses an underwater sonar system to locate drowning victims.