What happens with private a private organization uses unmanned aerial vehicles to map a disaster area in order to help with recover efforts? The Federal Emergency Management Agency (FEMA) steps in and stops them:
Friday saw a reprieve in the weather and we are able to get a perfect flight off in the town of Longmont to capture aerial imagery for damage assesment at the intersection of the overflowing St Vrain river and equally inundated Left Hand Creek. In less than an hour the imagery was processed and provided to the Boulder EOC. Just as Falcon UAV was off to another damage assessment in Lyons, Colorado we were requested to standdown for National Guard helicopters now supporting evacuation efforts.
Early Saturday morning Falcon UAV was heading up to Lyons to complete a damage assessment mapping flight when we received a call from our Boulder EOC point of contact who notified us that FEMA had taken over operations and our request to fly drones was not only denied but more specifically we were told by FEMA that anyone flying drones would be arrested. Not being one to bow to federal bureaucrats we still went up to Lyons to do a site survey for how we can conduct a mission in the near future to provide an adequate damage assessment to this storm raveged community.
People mistakenly believe that government is necessary to help people when natural disasters strike. In truth the state more often hinders efforts to assist those afflicted than it does to help them. As this story demonstrates, private individuals are more than willing to rise to the call of their fellow human beings in need. It’s just difficult to rise to such an event when the state continuously stomps on your head to keep you down.