Trending Topics

Fla. hospital launches drone program to deliver emergency equipment to 911 callers

The program will deploy 911-integrated drones, equipped with AEDs, naloxone and tourniquets to assist in emergencies such as cardiac arrests, opioid overdoses and trauma incidents


Tampa General Hospital

By Sarah Roebuck

TAMPA, Fla. — Tampa General Hospital, in partnership with Manatee County and Archer First Response Systems, is starting a drone delivery system to enhance emergency response times.

The program will deploy 911-integrated drones equipped with lifesaving equipment, such as AEDs, naloxone nasal spray and tourniquets to eligible 911 callers in the Manatee County coverage area, a press release states.

Starting May 1, residents within the designated coverage area can call 911 for emergencies like cardiac arrests, opioid overdoses or trauma, and Manatee County ECC Dispatch will deploy an ArcherFRS drone. The drone will deliver necessary medical equipment directly to the scene within approximately 1 minute 45 seconds, to 2 minutes 10 seconds. Meanwhile, dispatchers will guide the caller on how to use the equipment while awaiting the arrival of traditional emergency services.

Over the 12 months, Tampa General Hospital, ArcherFRS and Manatee County will assess the drone program’s performance and effectiveness to explore potential expansion and serve more residents statewide.

The initiative aims to improve survival rates and health outcomes by reducing the response time to critical emergencies.

According to a press release, ArcherFRS employs Freefly Systems AltaX unmanned aircraft outfitted with a parachute recovery system, ADS-B receiver, on-board computer and LTE modem. Based at Manatee County EMS’s Lakewood Ranch Station, the system covers a 3.5 square mile area during daylight hours, Monday through Friday. Plans are underway to expand this coverage to 35 square miles around the clock, pending further FAA approvals.

Firefighting drones: What’s new and what’s next?
Advancements in flight distances and speed, object identification and transport, logistics and autonomy are moving almost as fast as the industry itself