SEDONA, Ariz. – The Sedona Fire District now has technology on its side as it starts to use drones to help fire crews get outdoor recreationists to safety much faster.
Saturday afternoon, a Utah mountain biker was taken to the hospital in Flagstaff after a 30-foot fall on the popular Highline Trail in Sedona.
This call for service was captured by one of the Sedona Fire District’s two drones, which Fire Chief Kris Kazian, said was donated.
Kazian said rescues in remote areas, like the one from last Saturday, come weekly, “given our terrain, the amount of people recreating in our area.”
The chief said this tool from above puts eyes on the scene faster, allowing crews to get the right help there quicker.
That was the case with the mountain biker last weekend.
The drone allowed crews to, “get eyes on the person and make sure what their condition was, also, realizing that a technical rescue would be needed and that a rope system would need to be put in place, so our technical rescue was then dispatched because of that initial information we received,” Kazian explained.
The chief said Saturday’s rescue was just one example. He said drones will also be of great help during fire season, adding that the possibilities were endless once more staff was trained.
“I look forward to getting some more people certified and then evaluate what other technologies are out there and how we can enhance our service delivery moving forward,” Kazian said.
With so many of the popular trails so close to the Sedona Airport, the chief said his department does need the permission of the Federal Aviation Administration to fly over some of areas, but he said in an emergency, it was just a matter of asking.