UPDATED: April 21, 2015 4:48 p.m.
WASHINGTON — It won’t be happen anytime soon but the future of disaster response is drones, according to a study done by the Red Cross.
After studying it for a year, Richard Reed, a Senior Vice President of Disaster Cycle Services with the Red Cross, says it’s very easy to imagine just how helpful drone technology can be for those responding to a disaster.
“Given the damaged roads and infrastructure, maybe what used to make sense pre-storm doesn’t make sense anymore post-storm,” Reed says. “A lot of times we’ll figure that out once we get into the neighborhoods but a drone could probably figure that out in half, if not a quarter of the time. Then you can make decisions about where to set up a shelter as an example… where you might not want to set up a shelter.
The next time there’s a big, devastating storm somewhere, a lot of the disaster relief will be coordinated only after responders get a first-hand look from on the ground.
“What a drone can do is provide that in near-real time,” says CEO of Zurich North America Dan Riordan.
Which is why the Red Cross is taking a look at how drone technology can help the recovery process when disaster strikes.
“It’s really about setting the prioritization and moving quickly, creating a sense of urgency,” Riordan says.
He adds that from an insurance perspective, having that instant data coming from drones within minutes and hours can go a long way toward faster and more effective responses.
“Then we can deploy the resources that are necessary,” Riordan says.