Using DD for SAR?

Hi everyone

I am interested in using Drone Deploy to assist with Search & Rescue and am just about to start the trial. I didn’t want to hijack Drew Schmidt’s thread on SAR hence starting this one.

I’m in the UK and SAR teams are made up of volunteers who are tasked directly by the police to assist with missing person searches. We also assist our local Fire & Rescue service with water rescues and at wildfires for situational awareness. Our searches are formally planned, organised and controlled from a control van equipped with 4g data connection to access to internet and drone wise we have an Inspire 2 and Phantom 3.

Over the past 12 months we have been on several searches were I have thought that using a drone in combination with something like Drone Deploy might have made for a more effective search. For example, we were searching our area which was predominantly woodland when we came across a large marshy clearing which had knee high vegetation on it, enough that you couldn’t see someone lying down in that area and it was slow and heavy going to search on foot. I would have been interested in flying something like a Mavic Air using drone deploy to capture those areas and then have someone back at the control van review the images which would have enabled us to keep searching the woods and making better use of our time.

On another callout we were looking for a specific large item which should have been visible from the air. When we initially searched in summer the ferns and vegetation were dense & high and there was a full tree canopy as we were searching in the woods. As the person still had not been found we went back in the winter for another attempt at recovery when the vegetation had fallen back. We used drones to fly over certain areas but I just don’t think it worked as it was too hard to look at the screen during a live flight and study it in enough detail. I think it would have been more effective to have flown using Drone Deploy to produce a map and then study the images in detail later on.

Has anyone using this forum used Drone Deploy for SAR in situations like this and how did you find it? What worked and what didn’t?

I know you can’t put a price on saving someone’s life but have people using it for SAR found it was a cost effective uses of financial resources or would it be better to say buy more radios for foot search teams who are deployed whatever the weather or time of day? The reason I ask is that SAR units in the UK are charities so we have to use our funds wisely and although we have around 100 callouts a year, drones are not suitable to be deployed on every callout.

Has anyone on the forum got any opinions or experience about the costs involved with using Drone Deploy for SAR or overall experiences positive or negative they can share about using Drone Deploy for SAR activity?

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