Photo credit Superior Search and Rescue

Superior Search and Rescue is putting their Giving Tuesday funds to good use in the new year. A portion of the 14,000 dollars donated to SSAR, along with a grant from the Portage Health Foundation, will go toward purchasing a new drone for the team. Superior Search and Rescue has had a drone program for searches since 2019, but the new drone will dramatically increase the teams search radius.

“Being able to see stuff from the air gives you a completely different perspective from what’s going on. we saw that with both the Hancock tanker spill, and of course the fire down in Ontonagon, this past year. Just the new features that it offers, compared to what we had before, i mean, the thermal imagery, as you can see from some of the stuff we provided, was completely different from what it was before. You know, when you’re looking at the old imagery, you kinda have to know what you’re looking at. This new one, its relatively easier to identify a person or moving object.” – Darian Reed, Superior Search and Rescue President

And the longer battery life on the new drone nearly doubles the amount search time.  The new device can be airborne about 55 minutes. The current equipment allows pilots to search for about a half an hour. Then it needs to be brought back to switch batteries. The drone can support new attachments, and a better camera display for thermal imaging as well.

“So this is a DJI Matrice m300 RTK aerial platform. Its designed specifically around public safety and industrial usage. So it was designed for our market, Which includes thermal cameras, zoom lenses, spotlights. I mean it has a lot of features, that are directly related to what we’re looking for a missing person search or any incident that may arise in the area.” – Darian Reed

SSAR President, Darian Reed, said that SSAR is grateful for all the support of the community during the Giving Tuesday campaign. And the help provided by Portage Health Foundation has been invaluable. And credit also goes to the Houghton and Ontonagon County Sheriff’s for getting the program up and running. Superior Search and Rescue is currently the only drone program in the Copper Country for searches and emergencies.