Nashville’s Emergency Response Revolution: Drones Take to the Skies

In a groundbreaking move, Nashville's Office of Emergency Management (OEM) has launched a new drone program designed to enhance the city's response to emergencies on both land and water. This innovative approach allows for rapid deployment and situational awareness during critical incidents, ranging from missing person searches to natural disaster assessments, reports WKRN.

Transforming Emergency Response with Drones

Historically, in Nashville, Tennessee, like those in many other cities, have relied on conventional methods to tackle emergencies. This often meant being confined to vehicles and limited by the technology at hand. Matt Cerone, the field operations supervisor for the OEM, shared insights into the challenges faced and the motivation behind adopting .

“After operating out of our vehicles and struggling with the limitations of small screens during incidents, we recognized the need for a change,” Cerone explained.

The solution came in the form of a new drone response trailer, equipped to launch drones swiftly and efficiently, far surpassing the capabilities of traditional helicopters or planes.

Aerial Advantage

The benefits of using drones in emergency situations are significant. Drones can be deployed quickly to assess conditions and provide vital information to first responders on the ground.

“If a road is impassable due to flood waters, structural collapses, or ice, we can now provide real-time situational awareness to responders,” Cerone highlighted.

This capability is critical in directing rescue and recovery efforts more effectively, especially when time is of the essence.

The drone program isn't limited to aerial reconnaissance. The OEM has also incorporated water drones, specifically designed for water recovery operations. These drones enhance the efficiency and safety of dive recovery missions by using sonar technology to survey underwater environments. “This allows us to see what's under the water and direct divers more accurately, potentially saving lives,” Cerone added.

Nashville's Emergency Response Revolution: Drones Take To The Skies

Beyond Emergencies

The application of drone technology extends beyond immediate disaster response. Following the devastating December tornadoes, the OEM utilized drones for damage assessment, significantly aiding recovery efforts. The data collected was instrumental in providing the Federal Emergency Management Agency (FEMA) with detailed insights into the affected areas, thereby streamlining their response and resource allocation.

Cerone reflects on the lessons learned from past emergencies, emphasizing the importance of embracing technology to enhance the OEM's capabilities. “The advances in technology, including drones and AI, represent a blessing that makes our jobs easier and our responses more effective,” he stated.

Nashville's OEM drone program represents a significant leap forward in emergency management and response. By incorporating cutting-edge technology, the city is better equipped to handle a wide range of emergencies, ultimately leading to faster, safer, and more efficient operations. As other cities observe Nashville's success, it's likely that drones will become a staple in emergency management nationwide, ushering in a new era of rapid and informed response to disasters and emergencies.

Photo credits: WKRN.

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Haye Kesteloo
Haye Kesteloo

Haye Kesteloo is the Editor in Chief and Founder of, where he covers all drone-related news, DJI rumors and writes drone reviews, and, for all news related to electric vehicles. He is also a co-host of the PiXL Drone Show on YouTube and other podcast platforms. Haye can be reached at haye @ or @hayekesteloo.

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