Pottawatomie County Emergency Management to receive drones, mobile command post

Elisabeth Slay
The Shawnee News-Star
The Pottawatomie Emergency Management Office is purchasing two new drones.

The Pottawatomie County Office of Emergency Management received approval from the county commissioners to purchase two new drones and funding to purchase needed equipment to outfit a Mobile Command Post vehicle.

According to Emergency Manager Chad Larman, the drones cost a combined $14,913.66, which includes the drones and accessories.

"These new drones have updated Forward Looking Infrared camera, and updated controller technology that will allow emergency responders to utilize dual camera features in daylight hours, with the upgraded FLIR technology we will also be able to fly night operations," Larman said.

He explained these drones will be used for missing persons and assist law enforcement during man hunts.

"We will also be able to assist municipalities find water leaks using the FLIR and also assist the county commissioners with bridge inspections, when needed," Larman said.

The drones will have a spot light, which will help with finding people, and a loud speaker, which will also help emergency responders.

"These drones also will allow us to have a more effective damage assessment program which will allow us to take aerial photos and videos for FEMA and the State Emergency Management. With this better damage assessment program, it should bring in more disaster funding for the county," Larman said.

In addition to the drones, Larman said the commissioners also approved $20,000 to be used for a Mobile Command Post vehicle.

"We received a generous donation from Asher Fire Department. They donated us their rescue truck," Larman said. "We will turn around and repurpose this vehicle with communications equipment, televisions, and mobile Wi-Fi."

He explained the Mobile Command Vehicle will be deployed to all emergencies and disasters in the county.

"This will give the command staff from any municipality, sheriff’s office and emergency management a place they can work and complete interoperability with the communications systems, and we can utilize computers and televisions in the field at the scene of the emergency or disaster that occurs," Larman said.

The emergency manager said these tools will be beneficial because it will allow the county to better manage emergencies.

"It’s a sigh of relief knowing we will be able to deploy the mobile command post in a moment's notice instead of waiting hours for one from the state to be deployed," Larman said. "We haven’t had this capability in the county, to my knowledge, before with this technology."

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