March 4, 2024 The Putnam County Rescue Squad recently responded to the area of Dripping Springs Rd.

Posted by: Putnam County Rescue Squad on March 04,2024 14:00 PM

The Putnam County Rescue Squad recently responded to the area of Dripping Springs Rd. for a missing persons search. This is a densely wooded area with rugged terrain. The initial 911 caller reported multiple people /lost in the woods, before the call dropped out and dispatchers were unable to reconnect with the caller. Members of the Rescue Squad, including members of the newly-formed Drone Unit responded to the area where the 911 caller’s phone phased during the initial call. An aerial unmanned drone was deployed and quickly located a person in the woods utilizing the FLIR camera. A total of 3 subjects were located uninjured, after being in the woods for an extended period of time.

The Rescue Squad’s new Drone Unit was funded by the Putnam County Commission in the Emergency Management Agency budget. The Rescue Squad functions as a sub-agency of EMA. The team is currently comprised of 2 FAA-licensed unmanned aircraft pilots, with multiple other members in the licensing process. The team currently has two drones with FLIR capabilities, along with a search light and loudspeaker. The drones also have the capability to drop a small payload, such as medical supplies, radios, life jackets, etc. to a located person(s) while rescue teams make access and set up rescue systems.

EMA Director Brandon Smith noted the importance of the technology, “We are extremely grateful to the Putnam County Commission for their support of this project. The investment they made in this technology allowed us to locate the missing persons within about five minutes of arriving in the area, and provided the ability to direct rescue teams safely to their location,” Smith stated. “We now have tools that allow us to perform rescues in a fraction of the time we used to, and with safety overwatch of our rescue teams at all times,” he concluded.

The included photos show the sense enhancing capabilities of a FLIR camera when there are no other light sources. The dark photo shows the use of a standard camera, with only flashlights on the ground. The black and white photo shows how FLIR technology uses detection of infrared radiation, typically emitted from a heat source (thermal radiation), to create an image assembled for video output.