NewsLocal News


FSU's Drone Team returns after assisting with Hurricane Ian relief

FSU's Drone Team used students for the first time in emergency management deployment
Posted at 7:04 PM, Oct 13, 2022
and last updated 2022-10-13 19:16:14-04

TALLAHASSEE, Fla. (WTXL) — “The goal is how do we gather information quickly, accurately, and completely so that we’re not missing things,” says David Merrick.

When it comes to gathering information in an emergency, every second counts.

"The goal is how do we gather information quickly and accurately and completely so we’re not missing things,” says Merrick.

David Merrick is the director of FSU’s Drone Program. The program teaches students how to use drones for public safety and emergency management. Partnering with state and federal emergency management teams –a team of 7 was deployed--providing mapping and remote sensing support.
For the first time ever FSU’s Drone Team allowed students to participate in deployment.

“This was a great opportunity for us to bring students into the field to show them how things work,” says Jarrett Broder.

“That’s what we did a lot of with Ian we would go in front of the USAR teams and gather that information and then process that so that they have a more complete idea of what their assignments are going to be the next day,” says Merrick.

Urban search and rescue teams like Tallahassee’s Fire Department’s Urban search and rescue Taskforce 7. Which the team of 25 was deployed before returning October 6th.

“They can look over our shoulders and see the conditions, where they are going next…that type of stuff,” says Merrick.

An important lesson students got to learn firsthand.

“Go out and actually do good in the communities. Help Florida, help Floridians and at the same time we bring that cutting edge information back into the classroom,” says Merrick.