ANDERSON CO., S.C. (WSPA) — Anderson County Emergency Management received two new drones with high tech features which will help find missing people, give an overview of fire scenes, and perform disaster assessments of damaged areas after storms. 

The drones are the Autel Evo Max 4N and Autel Evo Max 4T. 

According to Emergency Management Director Josh Hawkins, the drones look the same but differ in camera features. 

“The 4N is the night drone. That drone has a thermal imaging camera and also has a regular 4K camera and then it has a night vision camera,” Hawkins explained. “That’s something that we haven’t had in the past is that night vision camera and I think it’s going to help us tremendously while we’re searching for missing people or we’re on night calls and just giving a good awareness of what’s going on in the area.”

According to Hawkins, the 4T drone allows the emergency management team to keep eyes on situations from far away if they need to stay back for safety reasons. 

“We still have to abide by the FAA rules so it allows us to stay in that area but zoom in and get the information we need or find the missing person we’re looking for or, for example, get the information off of a tanker truck that flipped over,” said Hawkins.

The emergency management has already put the drones to the test for fire and hazmat calls.

“We were able to watch it. Watch it from outside and get a good open view of what’s going on,” said Hawkins. 

Hawkins said the technology also saves time in emergencies when every moment counts. The team is able to search a large field in minutes instead of hours on the ground.

“They’ve shown their worth and so that’s why we went ahead and pursued a grant and went ahead and got these two additional drones.”

Anderson County Emergency Management said the drones were bought using an emergency preparedness grant bringing federal dollars to the county. The drones are also available to deploy to other counties during emergencies.