Today's date is October 26, 2020

Orange County green lights application for high tech drones to support Firefighters

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On Tuesday morning, the Orange County Board of County Commissioners received a briefing on the possibility of using drones to assist fire and rescue services in the region. The briefing illustrated the multiple high tech uses for the unmanned aircraft and impressed board members.

The presentation given by Orange County Fire Chief Otto Drozd III showed how the drones could provide a 360 degree view of a fire, provide thermal imaging to located missing persons in buildings or lost in open water, and deliver an ambulatory defibrillator drone to someone having a heart attack.

“This is technology worth having.” said Drozd.

Orange County will still have to apply for a certificate for from the FAA and go through proper training, which some county personnel have already began. The technology is also still being phased in to use in the United States and it could take time to get them deployed in Central Florida.

Commissioners were asked to approve the process of applying for the certificate and enthusiastically passed the vote unanimously. The county will also consider a pilot program to use drones to monitor the mosquito population.

“Without question the greatest value in this is that we’re not going to be putting our fire rescue personnel in harm’s way where there is no genuine need.” said Orange County Mayor Teresa Jacobs, who’s son recently became a fire fighter “The potential is almost unlimited.”

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