New Life-Saving Drone Technology



In the event of an emergency, call 9-1-1. The dispatcher will direct the appropriate resources to respond to your needs.

Our mission is to serve with excellence by providing services that protect the lives and property of those who live in, work in and visit Manatee County. During an emergency, Manatee County EMS works to respond quickly to the needs of our residents for their health and safety.

Through new technologies and innovations, we are accelerating response times and enhancing the health and safety of our community. One example of this effort is a new pilot program that uses drone technology to deliver life-saving equipment to 9-1-1 callers who are reporting sudden cardiac arrest, opioid exposure or physical trauma. With rapid drone delivery of an automated external defibrillator (AED) device, Narcan (opioid reversal drug) or a tourniquet, we believe we can increase the chance of survival during life-threatening emergencies.

Beginning in April, 2024, the initial program will be serving a 3.5-square mile area in the Malachite Drive area. Over the next 12 months, we will be evaluating its performance and effectiveness to determine how we can utilize this technology to serve more residents across our county. This program is a partnership with Archer First Response Systems in affiliation with Tampa General Hospital.

Frequently Asked Questions

How will users know how to use the equipment until emergency response can arrive on the scene?

Manatee County ECC Dispatchers are trained to verbally instruct 9-1-1 callers on how to use both AEDs and Narcan.

How much will this cost the patient?

This service is offered at no cost to area residents. It is a program of Manatee County in partnership with ArcherFRS and in affiliation with Tampa General Hospital.

Is the drone safe?

The aircraft used in this operation is the AltaX, a heavy-lift multi-rotor manufactured in the United States by Freefly Systems. The AltaX has undergone more than 500 hours of flight and simulated flight testing before it was launched into the market. Since its launch, the AltaX has been flown over 10,000 miles in beyond visual line of sight operations and has been the aircraft of choice for agencies like NASA, the USA Forestry Service, and many others. The AltaX has large props, which make it extremely stable, even in high winds, and contribute to the AltaX’s industry leading endurance.

ArcherFRS has successfully completed the rigorous and internationally recognized F3322-22 ASTM Certification for Parachute Recovery Systems on Unmanned Aircraft for the AltaX. The aircraft flown in this operation is equipped with this ASTM-certified parachute recovery system. In the rare event of a catastrophic failure of the aircraft during flight, the parachute recovery system automatically terminates the props and deploys the parachute, gently gliding the aircraft to the ground.

I live in the area where the drone may be deployed. Is my privacy protected?

The aircraft used in this operation does not record video or take pictures during operation. The only camera onboard the aircraft is a forward looking First-Person-View camera used to aid in navigation only and does not record. Further, the latitude and longitude of the 9-1-1 caller used to route the aircraft is transmitted anonymously.