The Clarke County Emergency Management Agency accepts its first grant from CCOPS for a public safety drone program.

Clarke County Emergency Management has begun their fundraising efforts to acquire and implement a public safety unmanned aerial craft or drone. The $2000 CCOPS (Clarke County Organization or Philanthropic Services) grant is the first to be awarded for the project. After a few recent search and rescue incidents, the Agency identified a resource gap. The Agency is looking to expand the County’s ability to respond to search and rescue incidents. The drone the Agency is looking at is specifically designed to carry out the public safety function of search and rescue. This drone has an onboard thermal camera that views the thermal heat an object puts off. This makes it great for finding missing persons day or night. The platform also makes damage assessment of an area much easier.

The drone also has payload capabilities. An object can be remotely dropped. This is best shown with the ability to drop a life vest or rope to a victim in the water. This would give responders more capabilities in responding to water emergencies.

Law Enforcement can utilize the drone to keep officers safe while searching for fugitives. The drone would be able to be flown in advance of Law Enforcement to alert them to a suspect’s location giving them the advantage and keeping them safe.

When drones are utilized by Government agencies, the operators must be licensed through the FAA or have specific Authority. One Osceola Police Officer, Clarke County Deputy, and the Emergency Management Coordinator are scheduled to receive training for their FAA license. The Agency will also apply for a certificate of authority to allow the training and authorization of Community Emergency Response Team volunteers to become pilots. The Community Emergency Response Team is a group of trained citizens that assist Emergency Management in providing service and support during incidents and disasters.

The drone can also be utilized for non-emergency functions such as surveys of bridges, roads, trails, etc. Drone use for special events to monitor for safety conditions is also a viable use. Identifying safety issues before they become an emergency is an important part of the Emergency Management Mission.

The total project cost is approximately $9,000. The Agency in in various stages of combining other grant opportunities to complete the project. Any individual or business that wishes to contribute to the project may do so. Contact Byron Jimmerson or 641-203-3031

For more information on Emergency Management and drones, visit:
Clarke County Emergency Management,
Clarke County EMA Facebook,