Over 500 Life-Saving Drone Rescues Tracked By Live DJI Map

DJI is a leading aerial photography systems provider that has published the results of its survey project which shows that more than 500 lives have been saved by drones. The latest rescue occurred last month in a dark field in Missouri when a sheriff’s deputy found Chris Fairchild, a missing 93-year-old woman who was discovered using a DJI drone with a thermal imaging camera.

This impressive rescue is one of more than 500 lives saved by drones according to DJI’s project of counting lives that would have been lost without the direct intervention of drones. 

This project of counting began in 2017 when they published a paper called “Lives Saved: A Survey of Drones in Action.” From 2016 – 2017, the rate of nearly 1 person per week was saved by drones. This first paper has become the DJI Drone Rescue Map that makes it possible for viewers to become informed of rescue incidents all over the world, which may eventually lead to such exploration.

Research has shown that a negative public perception is difficult to overcome. For example, a negative drone event — whether inaccurate or untrue — is likely to have as much as 10 times the publicity than a positive drone event. That’s a problem for a new industry struggling against such a negative public perception.

This rescue in Missouri is another example of why inexpensive, off-the-shelf drones are an essential tool for police and public safety departments.

Drone pilot Major Kevin Tieman told a local TV station:

“Thermal imaging released by the Cass County Sheriff’s Office shows how the drone spotted Chris Fairchild as a bright yellow dot in the darkness and guided deputies on the ground to her. ‘To see that little yellow dot, knowing that that’s the person you’re looking for, it feels great.’ Fairchild was exhausted and had lost a shoe but was unharmed when she saw the drone overhead: ‘I kept saying, Come on, I’m here! Come on, I’m here!’ A DJI drone is an amazing product and has allowed us to save lives. It is our responsibility to use all available technology and training to keep the citizens safe. The DJI Matrice 210 and thermal technology has done that.”*

The Sheriff’s Office acquired two DJI Mavic 2 Enterprise Dual drones this year, and four deputies are scheduled to start flight training this month.Just a few years ago, drones were an experimental technology for innovators in public safety, and civilians with drones often 

volunteered to help the professionals in emergencies. Today, public safety agencies across the world have adopted drones as a standard piece of equipment, and drones save people from peril every few days. It’s an astonishing success story for public safety, and for the people who are alive today because of drones.”*

Brendan Schulman, DJI Vice President of Policy & Legal Affairs, explained: 

“With more than 500 people now rescued by drones operated under basic rules, we can see how reasonable regulations with low barriers to entry literally save lives, and how useful expanded drone operations at night and over people will be when they are permitted at scale. The successful use of drones in emergencies also starkly illustrates the crucial benefits to society that are placed in jeopardy when policy proposals seek to restrict or limit access to drone technology, or raise the costs of such equipment to public safety officials.

DJI encourages public safety agencies to add their stories of drone rescues by submitting them using the form at the bottom of the map page. DJI asks anyone submitting information about a rescue to respect the privacy rights and expectations of the persons involved, and to not share any confidential or sensitive information about agency operations.”*


The thermal imaging data was released by the Cass County Sheriff’s Office which shows how the drone detected Chris Fairchild as a bright yellow dot in the darkness, and then guided deputies on the ground to her.

Another life saved by a drone!

Using a drone can be a matter of life and death!

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