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Manatee County could be first in the nation to use drones for faster 911 response

Posted at 2:04 AM, Sep 23, 2020
and last updated 2020-09-23 02:04:22-04

MANATEE COUNTY, Fla. -- Manatee County could be the first in the nation to use drones to respond to 9-1-1 emergencies, as a quicker way to save more lives.

Manatee County is considering using a self-flying drone to quickly get medical supplies to people in need.

"And deliver life-saving items out to a resident before an ambulance can arrive," said Jake Saur, the director of Manatee County Public Safety.

Manatee County Fire-Rescue says an average EMS response time in rural areas is up to 12 minutes and could be up to 20 minutes in really dense parts of the county.

But creators of the drone say the device can cover a 55-mile area in just five minutes.

"If this drone were to drop an AED, NARCAN, or a tourniquet, the 9–1-1 operator would direct the caller or bystanders on how to use it until EMS arrives," said Saur.

County officials say EMS would still arrive in the same way but the drone partnership with Archer First Response Systems would be an added feature to get help to people faster, especially in rural areas.

The one-year pilot program would only cost the county $1 a month but it still must be approved by the FAA before any further steps are taken.