The third week of National Preparedness Month is “Prepare for Disasters.” in Oklahoma, drones are an essential part of the Choctaw Nation Office of Emergency Management's preparation and can be used to provide an aerial overview perspective in times of crisis.
Drones are an essential part of Choctaw Nation Disaster Preparation
In recent years drones have proven to play a crucial role in assessing damage after a disaster and in bringing aid to disaster-stricken areas. We have seen extensive use of unmanned aircraft after hurricanes in Texas, Florida, and Puerto Rico to assess the damage, re-establish communications, and locate people in need of help or medical supplies.
“We have used drones for damage assessments following tornado events and flood events,” said Jeff Hansen, Director of Choctaw Nation Office of Emergency Management, according to Red Lake Nation News. “We have also used the drone for missing person searches and situational awareness on large emergency events.”
Unmanned aircraft became part of the motor pool of Emergency Management's Mobile Communication Unit more than two years ago. Currently, Hansen is the only drone pilot available to Emergency Management, but the plan is to train four additional pilots next year. There are also plans to add a thermal camera to the existing drone to enhance the aircraft's capabilities during searches for missing people. Other drones that are better able to fly in close proximity to buildings are under consideration as well.
During a surveillance operation in coordination with local law enforcement this summer, Jeff Hansen, Director of Choctaw Nation Office of Emergency Management, controls an Emergency Management drone.
Hansen said, “The Choctaw Nation Public Safety Unmanned Aircraft System program has been a tremendous addition to our overall mission. It has allowed us to get better data and assist local jurisdictions during complicated emergency responses.”
For more information about the Choctaw Nation Department of Public Safety, visit http://www.choctawnation.com. To learn more about National Preparedness Month and be better prepared for disasters and emergencies, visit http://www.ready.gov/september.
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Photo: Dempsey Kraft/Choctaw Nation
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