Atlantic City public safety teams will demonstrate the use of drones as lifeguarding tools.
While Atlantic City and the Jersey Shore are known for summertime fun, rip currents, surf, and sharks can make the beaches dangerous for swimmers who are unaware of the risks. Over Labor Day Weekend this year, 4 people drowned along the Jersey Shore when caught in strong currents. The National Weather Service reports that 85 people have died so far in 2023 as a result of rip currents and high surf. And as the ocean temperature shifts, reports of shark sightings and attacks are becoming more frequent on the Eastern seaboard.
On Tuesday, October 10 from 11 am to 1 pm, the Atlantic City Fire Department and other local public safety units will demonstrate how drones – equipped with cameras, PA systems and inflatable rescue devices – can be used to safeguard swimmers on local beaches.
Drones offer a effective tool for lifeguarding, providing eyes in the sky beyond the break. Equipped with cameras, PA systems, and inflatable rescue devices drones can help lifeguards tell swimmer they’re out too far; see sharks, whales or other wildlife in time to warn swimmers; or deliver rescue devices to swimmers in distress while lifeguards from the shore reach them.
These use cases have been demonstrated before on beaches overseas from Australia to Rio de Janeiro. Drones provide a major benefit to communities, while operating in the very low risk environment over the water.
Tuesday, public safety units under mission command of the Atlantic City Fire Department (ACFD) – including the ACFD Drone Unit, Beach Rescue teams and members of County Offices of Emergency Management, along with members of the Atlantic City Police Department’s SWAT Team – will conduct flight exercises at Atlantic City’s beach off the Boardwalk by Mississippi Avenue and Columbia Lane (nearby Caesar’s and the Convention Center) on Tuesday, October 10, beginning at 11 a.m. with expected completion by approximately 12:30 p.m.
The event is being conducted in collaboration with the National Aerospace Research and Technology Park (NARTP), which is at the center of Southern New Jersey’s evolution as a hub of aviation and air mobility technology and innovation, and the New Jersey Smart Airport and Aviation Partnership (SAAP). It is sponsored by the Atlantic County Economic Alliance (ACEA).
The Atlantic City Beach Patrol and our Office of Emergency Management do an outstanding job protecting swimmers on our beaches,” said Scott K. Evans, Atlantic City Fire Chief and Office of Emergency Management Coordinator. “But with several miles of beach to patrol, millions of swimmers entering the water annually, and sometimes potentially dangerous surf and rip currents to deal with, every available resource helps. Drone technology can expand the reach and reduce the response time of lifeguards and public safety crews responsible. We are a proud leader in the use of drones to enhance public safety.”
“We continue to find innovative ways to use UAS technology as part of our mission to make South Jersey a hub for aviation and air mobility technology,” said Howard J. Kyle, President of the National Aerospace Research and Technology Park. “Using emerging technologies to improve public safety is critical, as is keeping our communities and the people who live in and visit them safe. Which is why we are partnering with Atlantic City public safety officials to conduct these simulations to test how best to use drone technology in emergency response situations.”
These beach/flight simulations are part of an ongoing series of emergency management exercises focused on enhancing public safety that began in 2017 in Cape May County. The exercises are planned to continue, featuring both local and other first responders, including the United States Coast Guard in early 2024.
Miriam McNabb is the Editor-in-Chief of DRONELIFE and CEO of JobForDrones, a professional drone services marketplace, and a fascinated observer of the emerging drone industry and the regulatory environment for drones. Miriam has penned over 3,000 articles focused on the commercial drone space and is an international speaker and recognized figure in the industry. Miriam has a degree from the University of Chicago and over 20 years of experience in high tech sales and marketing for new technologies.For drone industry consulting or writing, Email Miriam.
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