There has been a 7.6 earthquake on a major nearby fault. You are a citizen volunteer and the Operations Chief for a Community Emergency Response Team. You are the first line of response for injured citizens because your fire district staffs 1 fireman for every 6000 citizens on any given day.
You have 40 to 60 other CERTS at your disposal who can perform basic search & rescue, first aid, and victim transport.
Your job is to put your teams in the thick of the victims as quickly as possible so that they can save lives.
Your Area of responsibility has the following characteristics:
- 11,000 people within it
- 4,700 dwellings: mostly single residences but also apartments
- 2.5 square miles: about 2.5 miles from north to south and averaging 1 mile wide
- hilly terrain
- some trees but not heavily wooded
- many streets, cul de sacs
The first hour after the earthquake is called "the golden hour." If someone has been seriously injured, their chances of survival drop precipitously after 60 minutes.
Your teams have assigned, prioritized routes they follow upon activation based upon pre-analysis of population density and seismology maps. HOWEVER, it is impossible to predict where victims will be.
The default solution to find victims quickly is a windshield survey by people slowly driving the Area and attempting to get radio messages back to the Command Post. (Radio can be unreliable because of limited channels, chaotic emergency traffic, and terrain.)
Roads may be blocked by down trees or power lines.
You are wondering if drones could be used to locate victimes and streets with substantial damage more rapidly or using fewer people than windshield surveys.
***If you come up with a better solution, you save lives.***
Assume Internet and cell service are not available. However, your organization has power generators, gasoline, storage areas, and includes many licensed ham operators.
Assume you can raise funds amongst neighbors and nearby businesses.
Under SCENARIO A: Assume that citizenry are totally passive and you have to find them.
Under SCENARIO B: Assume citizens have been trained on a marker system by which they place red, yellow, or green blocks/flags/lights in front of their houses visible from the air and street. (Of course absent or injured citizens would not signal.)
WE WOULD LIKE SYSTEM RECOMMENDATIONS OR THOUGHTS FROM THOSE WHO KNOW DRONES.
POSE QUESTIONS TO CLARIFY OUR REQUIREMENTS.
A CHANCE TO USE A VERY COOL HOBBY TO SAVE LIVES!