New York State Department of Environmental Conservation Sends Drones to Puerto Rico

The agency's team will help with natural disaster relief, recovery and more.

NY Power Authority
New York Power Authority technicians preparing to leave for Puerto Rico, where they will assist Governor Andrew Cuomo and others in providing relief.New York Power Authority/Twitter

New York Governor Andrew Cuomo sent three of the Department of Environmental Conservation’s drones and two operators to Puerto Rico to assist the New York Power Authority in restoring the island’s grid and carrying out other emergency response missions.

Training at the FAA’s UAS test site at Griffiss International Airport in Rome, 14 DEC pilots prepared for several months under the guidance of the Northeast UAS Airspace Integration Research team.

DEC also deployed two drones to Texas to help aid in Hurricane Harvey disaster response.

"One of the biggest things with the drone is it just gives you that aerial perspective," Region 5 Forest Ranger Bruce Lomnitzer said. "Instead of looking through binoculars, now I can take the drone and get it up in the air and get it closer to objects or subject, depending on which you need to be."

The drones can also significantly reduce the hazard for responders and improve response time, according to the DEC.