Drone use in search and rescue featured at fire school
A new addition to the 39th Annual Mountain Firefighters Association training Aug. 26 and 27 included drones and how they can be used in search and rescue. This was the first time volunteers have been offered a chance to learn about the technology. Hazard Community and Technical College was host to the fire school and is a leader in promoting the use of drones. Students quickly understood the benefits of utilizing this technology in search and rescue. The fire school, which included close to 600 attendees, attracted 24 people to the Saturday class and 54 to the Sunday class. Students learned from Bart Massey, Director of the USA Drone Port; Chris Stiles, CEO of Unmanned Services; Hazard Police Officer Darian Williams; and Tony Dickson of AEgis Technologies. A special guest included Richard Lusk, Director of UAS Oak Ridge National Laboratory, who expressed his delight in the interest in drones.
“There is no other place a person could go to hear from so much expertise in one room; it was phenomenal,” noted Massey. “We understand the importance of hands-on learning, and we were fortunate to have drones and simulators for the students to use,” Massey said. An added benefit was exposure to software used by the U.S. Army, which was shared by Tony Dickson.
HCTC President Dr. Jennifer Lindon said she is excited about the amazing opportunities for HCTC and the USA Drone Port, as well as possible further expansion. “These firefighters had access to amazing technology. We are so fortunate we could pack so much into this two-day event for training,” Dr. Lindon remarked.