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The Role of sUAS in Emergency Management - Lessons from Recent Hurricanes in the Southern United States

Authors: Austin Taylor Bush*, Florida State University - Center for Disaster Risk Policy, Robert McDaniel, Florida State University - Center for Disaster Risk Policy
Topics: Drones, Hazards, Risks, and Disasters, Cartography
Keywords: UAS, UAV, Drone Mapping, Disaster Recovery, Emergency Management, Public Safety
Session Type: Paper
Presentation File: No File Uploaded


In recent years, the integration of small Unmanned Aircraft Systems into the discipline of public safety and emergency management has seen a gain in popularity and growing public acceptance. The role of the technology behind sUAS is well established, however, the structural and institutional challenges with integrating sUAS into emergency management practices is an area of contentious debate. Legal challenges, public perceptions, competing claims of authority, and lack of coordinated sUAS efforts are all problems that face sUAS methods in public safety moving forward. Looking at lessons gathered from recent major weather events in the southern United States (particularly hurricanes' Michael and Dorian), this analysis discusses some of the issues encountered (logistical, legal, perceptual) in these events and argues for the need for a more integrated and comprehensive approach to integrating sUAS into emergency management practices.

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