The City of Reno and Reno-based Flirtey have formed a partnership to fast-track drone delivery of automated external defibrillators (AEDs) wherever needed.
The coalition is an application to the Integration Pilot Program (IPP) that was introduced by President Donald Trump and U.S. Secretary of Transportation Elaine Chao to help the USDOT and FAA develop a regulatory framework for the U.S. drone industry.
If selected for the program, the City of Reno’s coalition will demonstrate the live saving potential of AED drone delivery, create a model for future life saving applications of this technology, and help achieve the safe integration of drones into the national airspace.
Flirtey initially selected AED delivery as a use case with the potential to make the greatest impact because cardiac arrest is the leading cause of natural death in America. Flirtey, in partnership with REMSA, announced this emergency drone delivery program in October 2017 as the first AED drone delivery service in the U.S.
The City of Reno with support from Reno Police Department and Reno Fire Department has partnered with Flirtey, Regional Emergency Medical Services Authority (REMSA), The City of Sparks, Washoe County, AirMap, an area tribal government, commercial partners including startups and other not-for-profit organizations.
Flirtey is currently conducting regular AED delivery testing, and if selected, the pilot program will enable the service to move from the test phase to implementation.
When a 9-1-1 communication center receives a cardiac arrest call, in addition to dispatching an ambulance, a Flirtey drone carrying an AED will also be sent to the scene. Initial estimates show that deploying AEDs via Flirtey drones can increase the national cardiac arrest survival rate from just 10 percent today, to approximately 40 percent. When deployed nationwide, this service has the potential to save more than 100,000 lives per year.
“Based on Flirtey’s analysis, we expect that just one of our drones operating in Reno will save one life every two weeks,” said Flirtey CEO Matthew Sweeny. “This model is a game-changer for the health of our communities and will prove the viability of this life saving program, which has the potential to save over one million American lives over the decades to come. While saving lives, we will create jobs and help make America’s drone industry great.”
Flirtey has already conducted FAA-approved drone deliveries of over-the-counter medicines to customer homes in Reno, Nevada, and it also operates its commercial drone delivery service internationally in New Zealand.