Agencies like the Massachusetts Emergency Management Agency (MEMA) have taken active steps to utilize drone technology because they understand the ways in which UAVs can provide a new level of security and situational awareness. MEMA ensures the state is prepared to withstand, respond to, and recover from all types of emergencies and disasters, and they are also tasked with running the multi-agency coordination center that serves as the public safety coordination hub for the Boston Marathon. This year, drones were used by MEMA as they coordinated public safety across the eight cities and towns that the Marathon spans.
At the 2017 Boston Marathon, MEMA officials utilized drones at key locations to transmit surveillance video to different public safety command centers. The drones were tethered and did not fly over any spectator areas, which eased the regulatory and logistical issues that otherwise would have been present for this type of usage. The drones were used because MEMA officials were able to identify and prove the real operational benefit these tools could provide.
Kurt Schwartz is the Executive Director at MEMA and serves as the manager of the multi-agency coordination center for the Boston Marathon. It’s a position he’s occupied for a number of years, which puts him and the agency in a central role at the Marathon. We caught up with Kurt to discuss how he got interested in UAV technology, what sort of bureaucratic logistics he had to sort through to utilize drones in this manner, how this will impact the way drones are used at future events like the Boston Marathon and plenty more.
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