New River Resource Authority uses drone to mitigate inspection risks

Inspecting facilities for damage can be a risky business. After significant weather events, many members must send staff up ladders and onto tall structures in order to conduct an inspection.

The New River Resource Authority utilized VRSA Risk Management Grants to purchase a drone last year for this purpose.

VRSA Public Safety Specialist Gary Dillon visited the authority to learn more about how they are employing the drone.

“At VRSA, we are excited about Unmanned Aircraft Systems, also known as drones,” said Dillon. “We have two FAA-licensed drone pilots on staff and three drones.”

VRSA utilizes drones to work with members to show them ways to reduce risk through the use of drones.

“We have demonstrated how the drone can be used by a rural water authority to perform a cursory inspection of their dams – without dedicating personnel to potentially hazardous conditions,” said Dillon.

Other members have used drones for the inspection of tree canopies and tree structure to determine if any dead or loose limbs need to be trimmed or removed. Drones can also be used to inspect the rooftops of public buildings or other facilities that can be quickly viewed from the air without committing employees to potential risk.

Dillon also points out that special events provide an opportunity for police, fire, and EMS to monitor the event and direct resources based off of their observations from the air.

“If you are looking for ways to promote your locality for tourism or business, aerial footage offers a great ‘picture’ of what visitors should expect,” said Dillon.

If you would like to discuss the practical uses of drone technology and how your organization may benefit, conduct an aerial site assessment, or have other questions about drone operation, contact Dillon at: