Paramedics experiment with drones in Canada

The drones can be used to explore hazardous situations and deliver medicine

RENFREW, Ontario — Paramedics in Canada are now using drones as part of their emergency-response team. reported the drones are often the paramedics' first contact with an emergency situation and are especially useful in circumstances that may be dangerous for first responders.

Paramedics can use the drone to search for lost hikers in rough terrain, fly life jackets to boaters in the middle of a lake, or remotely explore collisions that may involve hazardous materials.

Drones have been used by police and fire departments, but are relatively new in the EMS world. As a result, ways to incorporate drones are still being figured out.

Phillip Reece, CEO of the company that makes the drones, Indro Robotic and Remote Sensing, says working with paramedics has been helpful. “We get it into their hands and then they come back to us and say this would be great if it could do this. So we take it back to our engineering department and we make it do that.”

The company built a large drone capable of carrying medical devices as heavy as a defibrillator or something as small as an EpiPen that can be delivered remotely. “With the defibrillator we have the ability to put the tools in the hands of lay people that might otherwise have to wait for paramedics to arrive,” says Michal Nolan, director and chief of the County of Renfrew Paramedic Service.

The paramedics are working with Transport Canada, which regulates drone use, to determine exactly how the drones can be used. 

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