Pittsburg County Emergency Management Shows Off New Search Drones
McALESTER, Oklahoma - Pittsburg County showed off some brand-new technology this week.
A new drone will serve as the eyes and ears for emergency responders in the county. Pittsburg County Emergency Management says if it had this technology last month, it would have completely changed the way they conducted their swift water rescues.
On Wednesday, Emergency Management simulated searching for a victim lost in the woods. In this scenario, the team is pretending their co-worker Hillary is lost. Normally, that would mean forming a search party and going out on foot.
"We'd be out there with handheld units having to walk all of it, so this cuts down time a lot," said Corey Cantrell with Pittsburg County Emergency Management.
The drone essentially does the searching for them. It's made by a company called N-MOTION and it can fly in 30-mile-an-hour winds, rain and snow, from negative 10 to 115-degree weather. The drone has infrared cameras to spot people quickly.
All of this technology, plus a four-day training session, cost the county $23,000. Director Kevin Enloe says the decision to spend it was an easy one.
"The cost of your life or a six-year-old child that's lost out in freezing temperatures? $23,000 is nothing, because life is priceless," said Kevin Enloe.
Including the lives of those who had to be saved from the water in late December and those who did the saving.
"We would have been able to deploy the drone and find the victims before we put any rescuers' lives in danger and put 'em in the water," said Kevin Enloe.
By the way, it took the team less than five minutes to find Hillary.
All eight members of the Pittsburg County's Emergency Management drone team will have to take a written and flying test in order to get their certification.