Zurich North America recently showcased the findings of a new study detailing how drones can help first responders and improve relief efforts following a disaster. Conducted by Measure, a 32 Advisors Company, in coordination with the American Red Cross, Drones for Disaster Response and Relief Operations outlines use cases and recommends ways to implement drones for disaster recovery with the key goals of saving lives and helping communities recover more quickly. 

Research has found that reducing the timeline of the early phases of recovery can expedite the entire recovery process and may even support more successful searches for survivors, but current FAA policy doesn’t enable the private sector to use drones for disaster recovery purposes at the most critical times. For example, Section 333 of the FAA Modernization and Reform Act of 2012 grants the Secretary of Transportation the authority to determine whether an airworthiness certificate is required for an unmanned aerial system (UAS, the formal term for a drone) to operate safely in the National Airspace System. Currently, Section 333 exemptions can take up to 60 days to be granted. In terms of disaster response, 60 days is often too late to effectively save lives and mitigate losses.

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