NBC5 features ASSURE’S research partnership with University of Vermont and how they are teaching first responders how drones can benefit their jobs

First responders learn how drones can make their jobs easier and safer. (Click here for the video story)

The University of Vermont concluded a two-day program teaching first responders about the benefits of using drone technology. First responders learned how to pilot drones and ways to use them to collect data to help protect the public.

“Drones work exceptionally well in situations where it is dangerous, dirty or difficult,” said Jarlath O’Neil-Dunne, director of the Spatial Analysis Laboratory at the University of Vermont.

A new partnership between the University of Vermont and ASSURE is aiming to keep first responders out of harm’s way.

ASSURE or the Alliance for System Safety of UAS through Research Analysis has the goal of providing drone technology to keep first responders safe.

“Think of any situation that is dangerous like a tower inspection — these things can do it much safer much quicker,” said Stephen Luxion, executive director of Assure. “Situations where there’s lost children or a hiker or skier… [it’s a fantastic system that helps to find these individuals.”

Drones can also help emergency responders create a plan much quicker in high-intensity situations.

“Drone technology can be instrumental during a disaster. It can improve decision making during the disaster, and perhaps just as important for the disaster response aspects it can provide data and information,” said O’Neil-Dunne.

In addition to safety, these drones can help first responder units financially.

“They’re much less expensive and expose people to much less risk than getting a helicopter up there or executing a search and rescue team in a boat, so we want to get this technology in the hands of first responders,” O’Neil-Dunne.

ASSURE is also working to make sure the public understands that drones are here to help.

“We’ve heard in the past that drones are dangerous and scary but there are so many things these drones can do for us to improve our quality of life,” Luxion said.

By Stephen Biddix, NBC5

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