Tennessee Baptist Deploy Drone In Relief Effort

The drone used with Nolachucky Baptist Association Disaster Relief was helpful in assessing tornado damage in northwest Tennessee last month. Source: Baptist Standard

When a teenage girl went missing in the Tennessee mountains, 18-year-old Brandon Ramsey was able to use a drone and search in10 minutes what search parties on the ground could not do in two hours.

After learning about the missing teen while working on his construction job from a volunteer Bean Station Fire and Rescue, the drone enthusiast deployed his DJI Matrice 219 V2 and was able to quickly detect the teenager’s location.

Ramsey is no stranger to drone based rescue operations. A member of Pleasant Hill Baptist Church in Rogersville, Tennessee, in his spare time he volunteers as a drone pilot for Nolachucky Baptist Association disaster relief – a new role is a first of in the Southern Baptist relief circles, according to national SBC director Sam Porter.

“It is a tremendous help to be able to fly up and hover over disaster sites to see all sides of any kind of debris,” he said. “This allows the teams to know how to strategize, how best to assist the homeowners and to help the teams know what equipment is needed to respond.”

To date, Ramsey’s drone has been used to locate those missing or deceased after natural disasters such as tornadoes, floods and hurricanes. However, perhaps its biggest benefit, has been serving as the eyes and ears of rescue teams before heading into disaster areas enabling them to be more prepared.

“We’ve used it as an assessor,” Ramsey said. “It lets us see what kind of damage there is and helps us get a picture of where we’re to begin.”

Porter agreed. “It actually is also a safety issue letting volunteers assess the entire area without having to walk through dangerous debris,” he said.

In the future the Nolachucky Baptist Association will use the drone with swift-water rescue teams.

Source: Baptist Standard