RALEIGH, N.C. (WNCN) — Wake Technical Community College is taking flight to announce a new partnership between the school and Elizabeth City State University, all focused on utilizing drones for emergency response.

“Wake Tech’s probably the largest provider of public safety education in North Carolina. Elizabeth City State has a unique role in aviation which is becoming more and more part of emergency management,” said Wake Tech President, Scott Ralls.

Drones are becoming more and more used for emergency management and public safety agencies and that’s why the schools are partnering together.

The school’s new Public Safety Stimulation complex is located on Wake Tech East campus and will include a drone pavilion so students can train. 

Wake County Fire and Emergency Management Director, Darrell Alford, says public safety agencies are using drones more and more for missing persons searches and even events like Dreamville and the North Carolina State Fair. 

“It’ll help reduce the stress on our responders when they’re doing a search. Obviously, when you put assets in the air with the unique technologies that are available with these, it helps the ground crew so much,” said Alford.

ECSU students, Liam Pearson and Danny Clipper are already learning how to fly drones at ECSU.

They believe the new program will be a big benefit for public safety and other industries as well. 

“My mindset is whatever the mind can conjure up there’s an application you can utilize the drone as a tool for that job,” said Clipper.

Wake Tech plans to have the simulation complex open by Spring of 2024.