Search and rescue drones are becoming more and more commonplace, especially in bigger cities and more advanced countries. The idea of a drone soaring through the skies and giving a bird’s eye view of any situation has provided immeasurable support in the search and rescue effort. It is, therefore, of paramount importance to bridge the gap between the technology and the people in the line of work. After all, just like any other device, for one to control it properly they would need the right amount of training. Just like using CPR on the field or medic kits on the wounded, a person that does not know what they are doing with the tools is more likely to do more harm than good. A person with the correct training and experience with tools – even if it is only at a practice room – can still be more reliable when it comes time to use the skills in the actual real life scenario.
The St. Petersburg College in Florida has joined forces with nearby Fire and Police Departments for a drone training program. They hope that after this training regimen, rescue departments, especially the first responders, would be more proficient in using drones to initially inspect the scene, as well as complement the staff’s relief efforts. The end result of this program will have the responders certified in the use of drones, giving more competence and support to each Department’s emergency staff.
The training provides its students with hours of first-hand drone controlling and experience, meaning they would be more familiar with controls and navigation. Objectives like finding people, searching through an area, or just doing a standard sweep of the perimeter can be learned at the program, which in turn could be of valuable use in the field.
As of the moment, although most of the surrounding areas near the college are equipped with drones, only a handful of the people actually working there know how to use them. The number goes down even further when it comes to first responders. The program hopes to bridge the gap between the drones and the people, giving more training and hoping that the UAVs would be of more use in the field than they have right now.