Jeff Hansen, Director of Choctaw Nation Office of Emergency Management, controls a drone during a surveillance operation in coordination with local law enforcement this summer. (Courtesy Dempsey Kraft/Choctaw Nation)
September is National Preparedness Month, and in order to be more effective in covering its close to 11,000 square miles of territory, the Choctaw Nation has deployed drones to provide eyes in the sky.
“We have used drones for damage assessments following tornado events and flood events,” said Jeff Hansen, Director of Choctaw Nation Office of Emergency Management, in a press release. “We have also used the drone for missing person searches and situational awareness on large emergency events.”
The Choctaw Nation actually started using drones more than two years ago. Hansen pilots the single drone currently in use by the Nation’s Emergency Management Department, but plans are in the works to train an additional four drone pilots. The Choctaw Nation also plans to add thermal-imaging cameras, which will enhance the drone’s capabilities during missing person searches.
“The Choctaw Nation Public Safety Unmanned Aircraft System program has been a tremendous addition to our overall mission,” Hansen said. “It has allowed us to get better data and assist local jurisdictions during complicated emergency responses.”