Flirtey has partnered with a Reno, Nevada-based ambulance service in hopes of using drones to deliver portable defibrillators to 911 callers reporting symptoms of cardiac arrest.
When the Regional Emergency Medical Services Authority (REMSA) 911 call center receives a cardiac arrest call, in addition to dispatching an ambulance, a Flirtey drone carrying an automated external defibrillator (AED) will also be dispatched to the scene of the emergency. Watch the video above to see how the deliveries will work.
The drones will launch from stores owned and operated by Flirtey’s commercial clients and health partners. Of course, there are strict regulations for commercial drones in the United States, especially for flights beyond the operator’s visual line of sight (BVLOS). Flirtey said it and REMSA “are working on the necessary regulatory approvals together.”
REMSA and Flirtey are targeting a start date in early 2018 for defibrillator deliveries.
Cardiac arrest, according to the American Heart Association, is the leading natural cause of death each year in the U.S., affecting more than 350,000 people every year. By delivering an AED within minutes of a 911 call being received, the partnership aims to decrease the time that passes between a 911 and the application of an AED and increasing the victims’ odds of survival.
The equipment used for the program is designed to be used by anyone, including those without a healthcare or emergency background. So a person on the scene will be able to use the defibrillator on the victim before paramedics arrive.
“Our mission is to save lives and change lifestyles by making delivery instant and partnering with REMSA is another huge step towards this goal,” said Flirtey CEO Matt Sweeny. ‘We have the ability to deliver lifesaving aid into the hands of people who need it – why aren’t we as a society doing it already?
“This is one of the most important uses of drone delivery technology, and we believe that by democratizing access to this lifesaving aid, our technology will save more than a million lives over the decades to come.”
Swedish researchers recently tested whether a drone or an ambulance had a faster response time in delivering AEDs to cardiac arrest victims. The researchers conducted 18 consecutive flights with an average flight distance of about 2 miles. The researchers found the drone arrived quicker than EMS in all cases, with an average reduction in response time of about 16 minutes.
Flirtey previously struck deals with Domino’s, 7-Eleven and Napa Auto Parts, among others, to deliver orders to customers in the U.S. and New Zealand. Watch the video below to check out Flirtey’s drones deliver Slurpees, a chicken sandwich, donuts, hot coffee and candy to a home in Reno in 2016.