Press release from Haywood County Emergency Services:
Haywood County Emergency Services has a new tool in the form of a state-of-the-art flagship drone which will be deployed starting this month under the Emergency Management department.
For several years now Haywood County has benefitted from the assistance of volunteer drone pilots brought in on a case by case basis. Now with its own unmanned aerial system, Emergency Management drone pilots can respond more quickly to disasters with a full complement of tools at their disposal.
The new drone is a DJI M30T, capable of 41 minutes of flight time on full batteries. It is equipped with a wide-angle lens, a 200X digital zoom lens, a high-resolution thermal camera, and a first-person view camera.
The drone also has the capability to carry a spotlight and speaker which can be used to communicate with people on the ground.
It is also weather-proof, capable of withstanding rain, dust, dirt, and a wide range of temperatures.
“This drone brings new capabilities to Emergency Services that we believe will save lives in the future,” said Emergency Manager Zack Koonce.
“It has everything on our wishlist and will be used in lifesaving missions, as well as for emergency management tasks such as mapping and damage assessment.”
The drone will also be available to provide services to other departments and agencies through mutual aid agreements.
“We see this new tool as a huge benefit, not only to our department but to the county and to its citizens. In the past such technology was out of reach, being too cost-prohibitive. As technology improves and prices come down, we anticipate tools like drone-mounted thermal cameras will be essential to emergency response,” said Koonce.