Paramedics experimenting with drones
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.
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...
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.