Unmanned Aircraft Program

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Unmanned aircraft are emerging and valuable tools for emergency managers. The Dorchester County Emergency Management Department has an unmanned aircraft (UA) program to ensure the best information is available to the emergency operations center, and other public safety organizations in the county. Dorchester County UAS operates in accordance with FAA Part 107, which is the same licensing program available to the public. 


Dorchester County Emergency Management uses the DJI Mavic 2 Enterprise. It features omnidirectional obstacle avoidance sensors, a 1080p camera with 2x optical zoom, and can fly for up to 31 minutes. The Mavic 2 Enterprise can fly up to 45 miles per hour and has a range of up to 3 miles, however, FAA rules require visual line of sight to be kept at all times, so the UAS is rarely more than a few hundred meters away from the remote pilot.


Here are a few examples of what the unmanned aircraft will be used for:

  • Damage assessment before and after severe weather
  • Flooding assessment
  • Search and Rescue
  • HAZMAT responses
  • Fire incident support and investigation
  • County facility mapping and imagery
  • Infrastructure inspection

The unmanned aircraft is primarily used for public safety applications, however, the EMD recognizes that there are privacy concerns associated with the use of UAS technology.

The Dorchester County UAS program will NOT use unmanned aircraft in the following scenarios:

  • The unmanned aircraft will NOT be used to conduct random surveillance
  • The unmanned aircraft will NOT be used to harass, intimidate, or discriminate any individual or group
  • The unmanned aircraft will NOT be used to target individuals based on race, ethnicity, national origin, religion, or disability.
  • The unmanned aircraft will NOT be used to conduct searches without a warrant
  • The unmanned aircraft will NOT be used to conduct routine patrol operations
  • The unmanned aircraft will NOT be used non-county business
  • The unmanned aircraft will ALWAYS be flown in accordance with FAA Part 107 regulations, and any applicable waivers that are authorized under the provisions of Part 107. Dorchester County EMD currently holds a waiver that permits nighttime operations.

Activity Summary

A monthly summary of all flights conducted during the past 12 months.

 Month  Flights  Hours  Training Hours  Mission Hours  Other Agencies Supported
 JANUARY 2019  6  2.92  2.92  0.00  N/A
 FEBUARY 2019  7  2.99  2.99  0.00  DCFR (training)

Flight Schedule

Scheduled flights throughout the county will be shared here.

 Date  Time  Location  Comments
 23FEB19  0830-1200  Ashborough Boat Landing  Search and rescue exercise w/ DCFR Boat Team

Training flights are regularly conducted on County property during normal business hours, and may not be listed. This list does not include unscheduled flights supporting first responders at an active incident.