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.

WNEW’s John Domen contributed to this report. Follow him and WNEW on Twitter.


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