Group expanding use of drones to help in search and rescue efforts

[Editor’s Note: The Drone Search and Rescue of Northeastern Oklahoma group also works with disaster relief teams.]

This post originally appeared on http://ktul.com/news/local/group-expanding-use-of-drones-to-help-in-search-and-rescue-efforts.

Burton Witaschek, admin of the Tulsa Drone Club Facebook page created the Drone Search and Rescue of Northeastern Oklahoma group to help in search and rescue across the area.

Since the drone club’s start more than a year ago, the group has received calls to help in search and rescue efforts.

Now they want to assist even more people and show them how drones can make leaps and bounds when trying to find a missing person.

“The fact is with a drone you can search 40 or 50 acres in minutes as opposed to hours that it would take on foot,” said Scott Rokeby, a member of the group. “That’s really remarkable.”

Witaschek said time is the most important issue when it comes to search and rescue.

“The quicker the call the better,” he said. “After that, you’re exposed to the elements and you’re probably out of the water and you’re lost. You’re fatigued and may be injured and things can start going downhill pretty quickly after the first 24 hours.”

The group also works with disaster relief teams to help locate people after disasters.

Anyone can call the group for help in a search and rescue effort.

“It’s a tool you want to use for good things,” said Rokeby. “This is really one of the best things I think you can use it for. I mean yeah, you can use it for delivering a pizza or whatever but what’s that compared to saving somebody’s life.”

Volunteers can usually be on-sight within 12 hours of a call.

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