When Commercial UAV News sat down with Christopher Todd, Executive Director of AIRT, for an interview to discuss the AIRT-DRONERESPONDERS’ 2020 Spring Survey—something we had done more than a few times before—much had happened since the last time we spoke that directly impacted public safety and emergency response. With such unprecedented events happening throughout the country from COVID-19 to civil unrest, public safety and emergency response teams have been front and center in the news—for better and worse. The goals we had discussed back in January seemed lightyears away from the “new normal” we were and are still living in.

“Things have been going really well all things considered,” reported Todd as we started our interview. “AIRT and the DRONERESPONDERS program started 2020 off with quite a bit of momentum. But external factors have obviously weighed in upon all of us. If you think about it, it's been a pretty epic year. We kicked off the year with our first presidential impeachment this century. We then headed straight into the COVID-19 pandemic, the world's first global pandemic in over 100 years, which is dramatically impacting all facets of life and commerce around the globe. And now we're witnessing some of the worst civil unrest we've seen in decades here in the US. So I can't remember a year in which the US has actually faced as much turmoil, from both internal and external pressures, but I think through it all, AIRT and DRONERESPONDERS has remained committed to supporting our core mission of drones for good and supporting the use of UAS by public safety agencies and emergency service organizations around the world.”

During the rest of the interview, we discussed those external factors and how AIRT and DRONERESPONDERS were pivoting to adjust to the changes brought on by COVID-19 and other events, how the 2020 survey was helping them gather the types of data they needed to ensure success in the coming year, and more.

Watch the complete video interview with Todd below: