Drones To Assist First Responders in Mass Casualty Situations

Phil, PA– The use of drones to assist first responders to treat disaster victims was presented at OMED 17, an osteopathic medicine conference in the city.

Philly.com reports that Italo Subbarao, senior associate dean at William Carey University College of Osteopathic Medicine in Hattiesburg, Miss, and a co-developer of the project, said such a device could be loaded with a medical kit containing a defibrillator, a tourniquet, and a wireless headset so civilians at a disaster site could receive instructions from medical personnel.

Emergency medicine providers have urged faster treatment of bleeding in mass-casualty incidents, enlisting the help of police and civilians if necessary, as every minute of blood loss worsens the patient’s chances.

After seeing the devastation from a February 2013 tornado in Hattiesburg, he and colleague Guy Paul Cooper developed the drone, in partnership with Dennis Lott, head of the unmanned aerial vehicle program at Hinds Community College in Mississippi.

Mark Komins, M.S., Paramedic, said: “With new technologies and always looking for faster ways to deliver emergency medical care to patients, drones use becomes a real possibility.  Drone AED’s are already being tested in Europe.  It’s an exciting time in Healthcare with lots of changes coming.”

Drones carrying automated external defibrillators got to the sites of previous cardiac arrest cases faster than ambulances had, according to test runs conducted by Swedish researchers.

Subbarao said he hoped the drone could be production-ready in early 2018.

In a related storyFlirtey, the leading drone delivery service, and REMSA, a community-integrated emergency medical services provider, have announced a partnership to launch the first automated external defibrillator (AED) drone delivery service in the United States.

Flirtey and REMSA are developing an emergency response and 9-1-1-integration process to allow for the rapid drone deployment program—including combining Flirtey’s flight planning software into REMSA’s highly-specialized patient care and transport programs.

Cardiac arrest is the leading cause of natural death in America, with more than 350,000 out-of-hospital cases each year, according to the American Heart Association. For every minute that a victim of cardiac arrest waits to receive defibrillation, their odds of survival decrease by about 10 percent. By using drones to deliver AEDs, Flirtey’s technology will increase the odds of surviving cardiac arrest and ultimately save lives.