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Georgetown County School District buzzing over new drone

(WPDE)

Georgetown County School District Director of Safety and Risk Management Alan Walters makes one "unusual" request in the budget every year.

For 2018, it was a drone.

The $5,000 request was paid for by an insurance grant to help the district lower the amount of workers' compensation GCSD pays every year.

"It was kind of a unique request for a grant that we could actually decrease workers' compensation injuries by keeping people off of rooftops," Walters said, explaining that the annual workers' compensation budget was around $1 million.

Walters said the drone could be used for any purpose the district sees fit, including finding a lost child, crowd control or marketing.

ABC15 was invited to watch Walters' second training flight Friday afternoon with County Director of Emergency Management Sam Hodge.

Hodge's department owns the same drone, as well as an additional drone equipped with thermal imaging technology.

"If an event happens, whether it's at the school district, or emergency management, or search and rescue, or anything like that, it's being able to rely on each other to come to the table with that problem and together solve it," Hodge said.

Hodge explained that officials are looking at setting up a task force to work together during major events.

"We've had hurricanes and floods and all that, and sometimes we can't get to the schools, so this would give us a way to actually get in there and check road ways, check the building conditions before we actually get in," Walters explained.

Walters will spend the summer training, and says he should be ready to fly for real at the start of the next school year.

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