Drones will now be used in disaster response procedures.


DeFUNIAK SPRINGS, Fla. (WMBB)- Technology advances have been continuous these past few years and emergency response teams are learning how to use that to their advantage.

Having eyes in the sky can make a big difference when a disaster strikes or when severe situations arise. Walton County agencies say using drones will give their team a birds-eye view of what’s happening below on a wider scale.

“It’s a life safety issue. We can better assess what the public needs during times of disaster. If we have a drone and we fly it up over some roadways that are blocked, then we know where we need to put our resources,” said Jeff Goldberg, Walton County Emergency Management Director.

Training for three days, the emergency response teams will learn the ins and outs of to flying a drone, from safety to FAA rules and limitations. At the end of the course, each person will take the FAA pilot’s exam.

“Everyone needs to have a license. All agencies need to have good standard operating procedures. So we are just here to help them get started on how to operate these air crafts safely and effectively,” explained David Merrick, FSU Center for Disastrous Policy Director.

“We have multiple agencies taking this class. We’ve got Walton County public works, GIS, Environmental, South Walton Fire District, and many more,” shared Goldberg.

Between the group of 30 people in the training, the comprised agencies have five drones.

“We now have a county-wide drone team that we can deploy if we need to,” said Goldberg.

The emergency teams that we spoke with said they feel confident That using drones as a new resource will be effective in the future.

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