Drones take off to help Hurricane recovery in Texas and Puerto Rico

Posted at 4:48 PM, Sep 25, 2017
and last updated 2017-09-25 16:48:48-04

The NYS Department of Environmental Conservation announced a fleet of 22 unmanned drones flying across the state to enhance emergency response efforts in Texas and Puerto Rico. 

This is following the devastating back-to-back Hurricanes Harvey, Irma, and Maria that left damage along the coast. 

"The use of drone technology will help us do our job better and faster while saving taxpayer dollars," DEC Commissioner Basil Seggos said. "We live in a changing world with technological advances being made at an exponential rate, and drones give us a safe and efficient way to collect and analyze data, assess threats to the environment, and quickly respond to emergencies."

The drones are equipped with standard and thermal cameras and can legally fly at heights below 400 feet. 

Each drone is operated by a human pilot, who controls the gadget with a remote from the ground at a distance of up to three miles. 

The DEC anticipates using drones for a number of things, including rescue missions, putting out forest fires, monitoring wildlife, and evaluating forest health.