FAA Urges Drone Users Not to Interfere With Hurricane Harvey Rescue Efforts
Federal Aviation Administration urged citizens of Houston to please keep their drones grounded so as not to impede ongoing rescue efforts.
The Federal Aviation Administration (FAA) issued a statement on Tuesday, asking all recreational drone users to keep their aerial unmanned vehicles (UAVs) grounded while rescue efforts related to Hurricane Harvey's flooding of the area continue. The press release reminds the ignorant that operating a drone near a disaster zone could "violate federal, state, or local laws." Most importantly - keep your drone grounded, the people currently saving lives ask it of you.
The FAA is only asking citizens for their cooperation, to most effectively combat the results of one of the most devastating hurricanes in recent history. It's not a lot to ask of us, the drone community, to respectfully agree to this. Remember, an imperative part of these rescue efforts is aided by a useful bird's eye view of the area, so keeping the skies clear is vital. "Allow first responders to save lives and property without interference," the FAA pleads.
However, a stick is often more effective than a carrot, so a few reminders of consequence can't hurt. As per the press release, the FAA warns that "unauthorized drone operators that flying a drone could interfere with the U.S. National Guard, U.S. Marine Corps, U.S. Coast Guard, and the Texas Military Department’s rescue and recovery missions as evacuations escalate due to rising water. You could be subject to significant fines if you interfere with emergency response operations."
I can't imagine anyone reading this near the affected zones to willfully violate this ordinance, but if anyone is in the slightest tempted to interfere - please don't. Allow people to do their job, and potentially save lives that would've been lost due to an unwelcome hobby drone interfering. This is not a time for flippancy or mischief - according to CNET, the National Weather Service had to add two new shades of blue to their maps, because the area has been so disastrously impacted by flooding.
If you are willing and able, please feel free to donate to emergency relief efforts for those affected by Hurricane Harvey at a charity of your choosing.