New drone takes to the skies to help Northamptonshire Search and Rescue find vulnerable people
Advanced drone was paid for by an anonymous donation - 'this will without a doubt help save more lives'
Northamptonshire Search and Rescue now has a new drone to help its work supporting emergency services across the county.
One of the first search and rescue groups in the country to get this advanced drone, the new kit will allow the team to help find vulnerable people as soon as possible.
Northants SAR has trained and qualified four pilots and a number of spotters to man the drone.
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A spokesperson said the groundbreaking technology allows both simultaneous daylight and forward-looking Infra-Red. This means searching at day and night is possible and landing to change cameras is no longer required.
"Drones have become a common sight in the world but their power to save lives is becoming even more understood. Lowland rescue has been pioneering them in the search for missing persons for many years.
"NSAR is incredibly happy to be able to add this to our arsenal of tools. We know from the work we do, every second matters and getting a missing person found quickly really does save lives," the spokesperson said.
"Beyond the core role of missing person searches, NSAR can see these being powerful tools in other operations we support. Being able to go above and into areas not possible from the ground so easily, for example overviewing flooding and wildfires, to aid in command-and-control activities, and aid in planning even more effective rescues. The team has the ability to downlink its live view to its command vehicle for increased overview and situational awareness.
"Being run entirely by volunteers, and operating solely on donations and grants, and being massively impacted by COVID19, we had previously had to put this project on hold, but thanks to a donor who wishes to remain anonymous, but believe strongly in what we do, we have been able to pull these forward and launch now," the spokesperson said.
"As is tradition for NSAR all our vehicles are named, in honor of their support we have given them the choice of the new platforms name, now to be known as “Simone”.
"We know this is going to aid us in locating missing persons and will without a doubt help save more lives. We can think of at least a dozen incidents in the last year where it would have proved its worth. This is yet another game changer for the Search and Rescue team, and the people of Northamptonshire, we are committed to helping find as many missing persons as we possibly can.”
For more information about the work of SAR, visit www.northantssar.org