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More than 100 pilots lift off from Jim R. Miller Park during a two-day GEMA and FEMA drone training event, participating in exercises ranging from obstacle courses to barricaded gunmen scenarios.

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Two-day GEMA and FEMA drone training event in Georgia

Fox 5 reported on the two-day GEMA (Georgia Emergency Management Agency) and FEMA (Federal Emergency Management Agency) event in which more than 100 drone pilots lifted off from Jim R Miller Park.

In one exercise, a first responder drone pilot navigated his drone across a lake in Cobb County towards a reported suspicious vehicle.

“We have located the vehicle in the southwest corner of the lake, standby for further,” the pilot reported back to the mobile command center.

After the pilot was cleared by the command center, he continued flying towards a boat and spotted the missing child.

The drone pilot said, “I can see the little baby leaning up against [the boat].”

The baby, in this case, was actually a doll used during the search and rescue exercise. This drone mission was part of a statewide drone training conference for pubic safety agencies in which more than 100 drone pilots participated. The two-day event included drone exercises such as obstacle courses and barricaded gunmen scenarios.​

“This is a pretty new technology, and the only way we’re going to get better is to understand what works and what doesn’t work,” said Lt. Brett Ries with Cobb County Fire and Rescue. “We’re relying on each other’s’ experience and really taking that and moving forward with it.”

In addition to the normal camera on a drone, the thermal camera, such as you’ll find on the DJI Mavic 2 Enterprise Dual, has been a very valuable asset for first responders as it makes it easier to spot missing persons, suspects, and hot spots in fires.

Compared to a helicopter, drones offer both cost and time benefits.

“To be able to get a helicopter out there is very involved, whereas we can just put it up in a matter of minutes and get what we need to and bring it down,” said Ries.

Drones are becoming very important tools in a first responders toolkit as they not only save agencies’ time and money but the aircraft also increase the safety for their personnel.

Jason Ritter, GEMA’s drone program manager, said, “Being able to do this in a location where so many officers so many firefighters can come together at once is unique in Georgia and something we want to continue to do for years to come.”

According to FEMA, the southeastern part of the U.S. is at the forefront of utilizing drones and creating training opportunities like this two-day event for public safety.

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