Pa­ra­me­dics ex­pe­ri­men­ting with drones

Le Reflet (The News) - - LA UNE - GREGG CHAMBERLAIN gregg.chamberlain@eap.on.ca

Will drones be the new tool in the pa­ra­me­dic’s kit?

Am­bu­lance ser­vices are ex­pe­ri­men­ting with drones as a means to im­prove their abi­li­ty to help people in trouble. Pres­cottRus­sell Am­bu­lance Ser­vices (PRAS) has a pair of small drones to help them with search-and-re­scue and ac­ci­dent site mo­ni­to­ring si­tua­tions.

«Our (drone) pro­gram is ve­ry young,» said Mi­chel Ché­tien, di­rec­tor of Emer­gen­cy Ser­vices de­part­ment for the Uni­ted Coun­ties of Pres­cott-Rus­sell (UCPR). «We have two drones, and we’re going to use them for site ma­na­ge­ment and for mo­ni­to­ring in­ci­dents.»

Pres­cott-Rus­sell Emer­gen­cy Ser­vices ac­qui­red its two drones last year. Emer­gen­cy Ser­vices is cur­rent­ly wai­ting un­til at least some of its pa­ra­me­dics have com­ple­ted the fe­de­ral avia­tion cer­ti­fi­ca­tion pro­gram for drone ope­ra­tors be­fore put­ting the de­vices out in­to the field. The cer­ti­fi­ca­tion is ne­ces­sa­ry to meet le­gal lia­bi­li­ty condi­tions for low-le­vel flights for the drones over buil­dings and po­pu­la­ted areas.

Chré­tien ex­plai­ned that these drones are not the type avai­lable from any store that sells ra­dio-con­trol mo­del plans, cars, or boats. These two drones cost $2000 to­ge­ther.

Al­so, they are not the same kind of drones in use now by the Ren­frew Coun­ty Am­bu­lance Ser­vice (RAS). Ren­frew Coun­ty re­cei­ved Trans­port Ca­na­da ap­pro­val for a pi­lot pro­ject, there, using four drones from InDRO Ro­bo­tics Inc., which have a lift-and­car­ry ca­pa­ci­ty up to 2.5 ki­lo­grams. The RAS pi­lot pro­ject is tes­ting these drones’ abi­li­ty to trans­port a por­table de­fi­bril­la­tor or other life-sa­ving equip­ment or ma­te­rials, du­ring an emer­gen­cy si­tua­tion when immediate ac­cess for pa­ra­me­dics is dif­fi­cult or im­pos­sible.

Chré­tien no­ted that the ter­rain in Ren­frew Coun­ty dif­fers from Pres­cott-Rus­sell. There are more re­mote areas, hard to get to for the am­bu­lance ser­vice. The PRAS drones, smal­ler in size, have more li­mi­ted car­rying ca­pa­ci­ty. They could take ligh­ter items like an epi­pen to a site like an is­land in the middle of a ri­ver.

«There are all kinds of uses we could get out of them,» Chré­tien said. «This is all fair­ly new for us.»

For now the main uses for the PRAS drones when they go in­to ope­ra­tion will be mo­ni­to­ring of an in­ci­dent site to help emer­gen­cy re­spon­ders eva­luate a si­tua­tion, or to as­sist with a search-and-re­scue ope­ra­tion through ae­rial scou­ting.

—pho­to InDRO Ro­bo­tics

Ren­frew Coun­ty has a pi­lot pro­ject for its am­bu­lance ser­vice using large drones able to lift up to 2.5 ki­lo­grams, to trans­port car­diac de­fi­bril­la­tors or other emer­gen­cy me­di­cal gear to re­mote lo­ca­tions when immediate ac­cess for pa­ra­me­dics to an...

—pho­to Gregg Chamberlain

Mi­chel Chré­tien, di­rec­teur des Ser­vices d’ur­gence de Pres­cott-Rus­sell, pré­sente l’un des deux drones son dé­par­te­ment a ac­quis pour sur­veiller les si­tua­tions d’ac­ci­dents et ai­der aux opé­ra­tions de re­cherche et de sau­ve­tage.

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