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Sumner County first responders are using Skydio drones to save lives

Posted Jun 25, 2024 | Views 255
# Search and Rescue
# Public Safety

Sumner County first responders using drones to save lives

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Summer County is now using drones to help save lives. While responding to a welfare check last month, deputies spotted a blood trail and a razor blade. The evidence led to a large cornfield, but the corn crop was too dense for anyone to see. This is some of the footage from their drone.

Quick on their feet, first responders launched the drone, and within minutes, they were able to find their guy. So Ken Weidner and Mickey Summers are here now with Sumner County EMA. Talk more about some of the ways that they're using these drones to save lives. Thank you for being here, gentlemen.

We appreciate it. And we have a drone here. This is one of the many that y'all have. Right, Ken?

Mhmm. We've got seven.

Okay. So tell me a little bit of the history. When did y'all decide to incorporate drones, into your search and rescue efforts and why?

So we've managed search operation for for years. Mhmm. And, typically, we use what we call items we have in our toolbox.


So in that toolbox are, search personnel Mhmm.

K nine, helicopters, airplanes, neighborhood, you know, people in neighborhood Mhmm.

Social media. And with the advent of drones, we we've incorporated that because we work a lot on probability of detection. Okay. We utilize books that give us percentages on what people do, what Alzheimer's or children or people in certain age group do. And we do different types of searches, hasty searches, and a lot of people see a grid search. And a grid search is the slowest.

It it produces the most, but it takes the longest amount of time.

So with twenty people in a square mile, it takes thirty seven hours Wow.

To search that square mile. So we can search, obviously now if we were looking if if CID was looking for evidence, we wouldn't wanna use this as much as people. Mhmm. But for this to find someone whose life might be in danger, it's quickly deployable and covers a lot of ground, in a short period of time.

What what's it been like, Mickey, since y'all been using the drones? Any any examples of, you know, cases where it's really coming vital like the case we shared earlier?

That case was very big.

That was actually this is a new Skydio drone that we just recently added to the fleet. We have two of these.

When our pilot got there Mhmm. They had been looking for the guy for for a while. Wow. And within a couple minutes, he's like, hey, guys. I think I I have him here. I mean, that's how quickly it happened.


You know, going into that cornfield, even walking through it would have been terrible. We're just trying to walk through it with it being so tall. Wow. It's a force multiplier for sure.

You know, we utilize THP, along with TBI as well, but we can actually put these in the air and hopefully get started in case we need the bigger resources, such as helicopter and airplane.

How important is this, Ken, for all the other municipalities in Summer County as well? Because y'all try to help everybody out with this. Yeah.

We've used it for fire scenes. We had, we get called on on grass fires to look for hot spots. We've been called on commercial fires to look look on the roof of buildings.

So there there's a lot of applications here. You know? And the thing about drones is you just you can't just go out and fly them over people.

Mickey is actually overseas our program, and and he's more attuned to what you can and can't do. And so, there are limitations. Okay. But but we know those, and and we've got a a crew of pilots, and we're adding pilots to that. Okay.

How many pilots do y'all have now?

We've got four pilots now, and we're looking to expand to to eight or ten. And and we're talking about that because the the drone part one zero seven pilot license is one step below a pilot license.


So there's a lot that goes into to to achieving a pilot license. And that's a requirement that we've got, and we've got guidelines that we operate under, and and, and we adhere to those.

Awesome. Well, it's good to see y'all really taking advantage of the technology that's available to you and and using this to, at the end of the day, protect the people of Sumner County. So thank for be thank you for being here and sharing this with us. We appreciate it. Folks, we're gonna have more information about the program at w karen dot com. Just look for the newsmaker tab.

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