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The Pennsylvania Department of Transportation (PennDOT) is asking drone operators to follow Federal Aviation Administration (FAA) guidelines to avoid interfering with emergency responders.
The warning followed a PennDOT meeting held with other state agencies last week to discuss how increasing drone usage has the potential to delay or endanger emergency medical services (EMS).
The officials discussed how EMS helicopters cannot land when a drone is in the area, which has the potential to delay patient care. Additionally, officials considered how commercial and recreational drone use could interfere with first responders' drone use, such as in cases of firefighting and missing person searches, PennDOT officials said in a press release.
Following the discussion at the Pennsylvania State Police Academy in Hershey, PennDOT issued an announcement urging drone operators to follow FAA guidelines.
“We ask drone operators to keep safety in mind and leave the area or land their unmanned aircraft when they see a police or EMS helicopter in the sky,” said Gary Vogue, director of the Tactical Operations Division of the Pennsylvania State Police Bureau of Emergency and Special Operations.
To read how railroads are employing drones for track and bridge inspection across North America, click here.