Drone Pilot JobsDrones to help assess damage during hurricane season

June 30, 2021by helo-10

SEMINOLE COUNTY, Fla. – Hurricane season is here and while luckily no storms have made landfall so far this year in the sunshine state, many homeowners and emergency leaders are already preparing for future storms.

What You Need To Know

  • Seminole County Fire Department will have new tool to help during hurricane season
  • The department will be using drones after storms hit to assess damage
  • The devices will make responses faster, safer for the department

This year, the Seminole County Fire Department will have a new tool in the air to help them after a storm hits, utilizing drones to make responses faster and safer for the department.

“When you’re a little kid, you thought about flying stuff. And this kind of turned from a hobby into part of your job, which is awesome,” said Erin Geise, a Seminole County firefighter and drone pilot for the department. 

For years, Geise has been flying drones for fun. And now, he gets to put his sky-high tech skills to use at work with the Seminole County Fire Department.

Already, drones are helping the department respond better and faster to everything from trail rescues to fires.

“You can launch them basically anywhere, take them straight to the damaged areas and get a nice birds-eye view to be able to direct crews, to be able to find victims, to be able to find people in distress,” Geise said. 

With hurricane season already churning up storms in the Atlantic, Geise said drones will make a big difference, improving how and where crews respond when a storm hits.

“Before it was just, we have some rural stations and they would have to go out street by street and take account,” Geise said. “Now, we can just send a drone up and take away that part of their job and send them to more critical areas of need.”

By identifying hazards from the sky first like rising water levels from flooded rivers and lakes after a hurricane passes over, they can navigate through storm damage faster. And thermal imaging on the camera allows them to quickly identify potential victims, making rescues safer.

 “To see what areas aren’t accessible for first responders to get to and also see people that may also be stranded during hurricane seasons and how to get to them,” Geise said. 

With boots on the ground and blades in the air, Geise said drones are becoming an integral part of their department’s tool belt, vital to helping keep both their team and Seminole County safe.

“Every department throughout the nation should have this,” Geise said. “It’s that beneficial.”

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There is more to being a drone pilot than just buying a machine and flying in your backyard. It can be that simple, but most of us will need to understand some drone laws before we try to take to the sky.


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