DJI’s Senior Director of Public Safety Integration, Romeo Durscher writes in a post that the Chinese drone maker has already committed 100 drones to 40 police, fire and public safety organizations in 21 states as part of the US Disaster Relief Program to help fight COVID-19.
Durscher says: “What a week this has been. Seven days ago, DJI announced we were activating our Disaster Relief Program to help public safety agencies in the United States confront the coronavirus. Today, we’re pleased to announce we are distributing 100 drones to 40 police, fire and public safety organizations in 21 states. This is the largest single deployment of drones to fight COVID-19 that we know of – and we look forward to seeing what our brave first responders do with them.”
DJI commits 100 drones to fight COVID-19
DJI introduced the Disaster Relief Program last fall so that the drone maker would be able to quickly send drones and additional accessories to pre-screened and vetted public safety agencies responding to local emergency situations such as wildfires, floods, hurricanes, and tornadoes. However, with the Coronavirus spreading so quickly throughout the country, DJI retooled the program to mobilize for fighting a single problem from coast to coast.
The response has been overwhelming, as Durscher writes: “A week later, we have received several hundred requests from across the entire United States to support police, fire and emergency management departments; state patrols; search and rescue units; and even hospitals. DJI’s Director of Public Safety Integration, retired fire chief Wayne Baker, and I reviewed applications from the hardest-hit parts of the country to learn more about their current situation, their plans to use drones to manage the crisis, and their ability to do it quickly. Even in a time of crisis, it was frankly inspiring: All across America, first responders are embracing drone technology to help their communities, accomplish more in less time, and protect their own personnel. They came up with creative ideas, shared proofs of concept and were eager to demonstrate how their work can help the greater public safety community.”
As of today, 40 police, fire and public safety organizations in 21 states have received a total of one hundred DJI drones to help in the fight against COVID-19. The infographic below shows where in the country these unmanned aircraft have been distributed.
Getting two DJI Mavic 2 Enterprise drones ready
Sergeant Tim Ehrenkaufer from the Daytona Beach Police Department in Florida, who heads up the drone unit, unboxes two DJI Mavic 2 Enterprise drones. He plans to use the drone with a loudspeaker attached, so they can spot groups of people gathering and warn them to disperse – without endangering any of his officers.
To support the heroes combatting the COVID-19 pandemic, we have activated our Disaster Relief Program to help keep first responders safe and able to scale their drone operations at this unprecedented time.
— DJI Enterprise (@DJIEnterprise) March 26, 2020
Lessons learned from Disaster Relief Program
Chief Baker and Romeo Durscher are planning a webinar at 11 a.m. PST on April 15 to help share the lessons learned from the US Disaster Relief Program to fight COVID-19. More information on how to use drones for good will follow.
“It took incredible work from many, many people across many time zones to bring the DJI Disaster Relief Program coronavirus effort to fruition so quickly. I want to thank everyone who contributed – from our internal stakeholders across DJI departments and regions, to our Enterprise Channel partners who turned on a dime to make these products available, to the public safety agencies who said they want to “Pay-It-Forward” and help information to improve the entire nation’s ability to respond,” said Durscher. “The battle against COVID-19 is going to be a marathon, not a sprint, but we hope this early effort can illuminate one way for America’s frontline responders to protect the public, keep themselves safe and hopefully save lives.”