DCEM PhotoDickinson County Emergency Management's drone - a DJI Inspire I.DCEM PhotoIn the fall of 2016, the Emergency Management Commission and Coordinator began researching the purchase of an unmanned aircraft system (UAS), commonly known as a drone. Following a demonstration by Aerial Horizons, the Commission approved the purchase, sharing the cost with the Dickinson County Sheriff's Office. DCEM took possession of a DJI Inspire I drone in February of 2017. The Coordinator completed training and became a certified UAS pilot through the FAA. Additionally, DCEM holds a Part 107 waiver from the FAA, allowing for nighttime operations.

In April of 2017, the Commission approved the purchase of a thermal imaging camera for the drone. This camera allows us to see heat and gives us the ability to conduct searches at night.

The drone and all of the accessories could not have been purchased without the help of several generous organizations. To date, donations toward the program include:

The Dickinson County Emergency Management Commission would like to thank these organizations for their generous donations. If your organization would like to contribute, please contact the emergency management office at 712-336-3987.

The uses for the drone are numerous and include searching for missing persons, communications equipment inspections, damage surveys and assessments, aerial surveillance for emergency situations, and more. Additionally, the drone is equipped with the Stork payload drop system. This allows us to carry light-weight objects, such as a water bottle, cell phone, life jacket, etc., to someone in need and then drop the object to them from the air.

DCEM PhotoDamage survey following a tornado in Osceola County - August 2017DCEM Photo DCEM PhotoViewing deer with the thermal camera during trainingDCEM Photo

DCEM PhotoTraining with the HEAT team on searching for fugitives.DCEM Photo

Arnolds Park/Okoboji Fire Department PhotoTraining with the Arnolds Park/Okoboji Dive Team on carrying payloads with the drone.Arnolds Park/Okoboji Fire Department Photo
DCEM PhotoDocumenting flooding of a county-owned bridge along the Little Sioux River in 2018.DCEM Photo



Michael Ehret
Dickinson County Courthouse
1802 Hill Ave, Ste B103
  Spirit Lake, IA 51360
This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it.