Vernon Testing Drone

Town emergency officials purchased the drone to help with storm response

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    NEWSLETTERS

    Vernon gets a radio controlled drone to help with damage assessments after major storms. (Published Tuesday, Jul 31, 2012)

    Drones aren't for the military anymore.

    The Town of Vernon wants to use a scaled down version that just takes photos and video, to help respond to the next big storm.

    Vernon Gets New Technology to Help Manage Disasters

    [HAR] Vernon Gets New Technology to Help Manage Disasters
    Vernon gets a radio controlled drone to help with damage assessments after major storms. (Published Tuesday, Jul 31, 2012)

    Vernon's Office of Emergency Management purchased the small drone, fixed with two cameras, for about $500 with money from a public-private partnership.

    They're putting it to the test this week.

    It will be used to help assess damage after the storm without sending a person up a ladder or in a bucket truck.

    "This could be a very useful tool in making those damage assessments and doing them in a much more safe manner," Michael Purcaro, Vernon's Emergency Management Director, said.

    The drone could record video of damage to wires, trees or roof tops.

    "If properly deployed, this thing could save us a lot of money down the road," Purcaro said.

    Vernon is one of a number of towns across the state participating in a disaster response drill. Communities are hoping to improve response times and communication after Tropical Storm Irene and the October snow storm. Vernon, with a population of about 30,000 people, was one of the hardest hit towns after the snow storm. Hundreds of trees fell down causing widespread damage and power outages.

    The drone can be controlled from a smart phone of tablet and the high-definition video is sent back to a computer.

    Purcaro assures the public that it won't be used for surveillance.

    "The range is very limited," Purcaro said. "It's only two to three-hundred feet from the control unit. It's strictly meant to just look at and assess damage."

    Some, who went through a week without power, welcome the new technology.

    "I think it's great," one Vernon resident said.