Drones Help Prevent Suicides Along Railroad Lines


A mock exercise took place in Fallon, Nevada, where The Fallon Police Department responded to a report of a man walking near the railroad between North Maine and Taylor streets.

Yearly, The Federal Railroad Administration reports a number of trespasser on the rails. According to Rich Gent of Hot Rail Security, Nevada has an average of two rail suicides per year.

“One thing people don’t think about is the horrible trauma that the train crews and first responders have to deal with in these types of situations,” Gent said. “Some train crews never come back to work after experiencing one of these incidents.”

The city Fallon along with Hot Rail Security, and two drones experts: Flight Text Concierge LLC and Vertical Vantage Inc. created a scenario where a man walks along the tracks and commits suicide. The situation was reported by a mother, who received an alarming text by er son. Since she can't contact him, she feels he is suicidal.

An Army veteran, Lacey Szekely, provided the drone that was used during the exercise. The scenario was located in a "out-of-the-way" location to test the drone possible usage for this kind of situation.

“It’s difficult to find someone from Hazen to Highway 95,” Gent said during the exercise. “The drone can assist us to search for the distraught individual.”

The only limitation Hot Rail Security find was that the operator must have visual sight of the drone, so he can identify possible obstacles, such as trees.

“We have such vast and open spaces here in Nevada (that) using a drone will provide local law enforcement with eyes in the sky and allow them to cover a large area in a shorter period of time,” Gent said.

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