Maple Ridge security company could soon provide public safety by air, as it gets set to launch aerial drones.Westridge Security Ltd. believes it will be the first private security company in B.C. to commercially fly the unmanned aerial vehicles (UAVs).The drones should be ready for service in a few weeks, pending flight permit approval from Transport Canada. They can assist agencies in search and rescue tasks, firefighting, and bylaw enforcement, among other applications.
Drones are already in operation in B.C. — the RCMP have four.
But outside law enforcement, they are not yet widely used in B.C., although a Vancouver company, North Guardian UAV Services Canada, has been demonstrating the devices for Lower Mainland search and rescue teams.
Ridge Meadows Seach and Rescue Team manager Rick Liang said the drones could offer a cost-effective alternative to the use of helicopters and aircraft.
“We may be able to fly them in weather that we wouldn’t be able to fly a helicopter in, or search in drainages or gullies that it would be tricky to investigate,” Liang said. “Most of us in SAR are excited by the thought of it. It’s certainly another tool.”