Bergen County Uses Drones to Help Emergency Responders

NJTV News | August 16, 2016 | More Issues
Drones will be used more and more in emergencies. They have already helped to find a missing person and to search for a homicide suspect

Bergen County’s emergency responders are using drones to help them in potentially dangerous situations. They have already used a drone to search for a homicide suspect in Midland Park and to find a missing person in Little Ferry.

“By providing us a more complete picture of an active scene and continuing to send up-to-date information in an emergency response, drones can help reduce the amount of time spent getting a situation under control,” said Bergen County Executive James Tedesco at a display of their drones in Mahwah yesterday.

U.S. Sen. Cory Booker (D-NJ), who attended yesterday’s demonstration, has been pushing for more emergency responders to use drones and for Congress to encourage innovation. The county’s one drone pilot, Wyckoff police officer Kyle Ferreria, conducted the demonstration.

The drones are equipped not just with cameras but also with sensors to determine other hazards. “This will allow us to fly the drone down into hazardous-material environments and take air samples … and determine if we should send a human life down there or not,” said Bergen County Office of Emergency Management Coordinator Lt. Matthew Tiedemann.

Noting the privacy issues that concern some people about drones, Tedesco said, “I’m happy to say that part of our protocols is to ensure the public’s right to privacy is and continues to be protected.”

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