"Our island with gigabit broadband and relative 4g coverage is the bedrock required to innovate"
Andrew Scott-Miller
Air Rescue Channel Islands

Tell us a little bit about your idea and your journey to coming up with it.

A volunteer lead, emergency drone team, available to be tasked by the emergency services 24/7 where there is a risk or concern for persons, property, the environment, or responders.

Air Rescue has a formal ‘Declared Asset’ status, with specific SOPs for each Emergency Service co-ordinated through the islands Emergency Planning Office, and ultimately should be granted ‘blue light’ status where the tasking agency requires a rapid response. This will be the first such formal independent service certainly in Europe, if not the world.

The on-call team will carry several drones that are capable of a variety of specified tasks in a range of operating conditions and with differing levels of risk.

Primary roles will be searching of missing or vulnerable persons, assessing a scene for safety or hazards, providing continuous remote live video of a scene or event to a control room, monitoring a site for heat sources, recoding a scene of an accident to enable future investigation, and speed the process of re-opening roads or sites following significant incidents (fatal RTC’s etc).

Our on-call pilots will be trained to UK blue light emergency standards and will have to maintain a strict level of flight time to operate.

I have a long background in tech having launched a number of startups over the past 25 yrs – most unsuccessful, two not so! Trying to move away from startups and get back to a work life balance, I decided to have a total change of career and started a new chapter working at Jersey Coastguard.

For 5 years I was in the Maritime Operations Centre and utilised drones a number of times for search and rescue, operated by the fire service. Over time their ability to deploy drones was reduced to changes in staff and levels and the amount of incidents where drones could be used increased.

A shared service where the compliance and technology management could effectively be outsourced and operations provided by volunteers appeared to most suitable solution.


How will Impact Jersey help your project grow further? Where will you take your project after Impact Jersey?

Impact Jersey provides us the funding to source the hardware and get the service up and running. Once we are delivering a service we will gain support as the service is very visible.

We aim to continue to develop the service with new technology and be able to provide more services, ultimately aiming to be able to deploy a drone anywhere within our territorial waters.


What makes Jersey a great place for innovative projects?

Whilst a small island and community has many challenges in terms of scale and reach, the ability to get likeminded individuals across a range of sectors and areas together to solve problems is very achievable. Innovative and disruptive thinking is edging towards being the norm and there is a genuine desire to solve some of our challenges.

It’s also very easy to forget just how connected Jersey is – having spent some time in the UK and realising that single digital broadband speeds are the norm, and mobile phone connections are still very patchy away from core built up areas, our island with gigabit broadband and relative 4g coverage is the bedrock required to innovate.


What does innovation mean to you?

Using technology to facilitate and or  inform different thinking, decision making and or actions for a better outcome.


Read more: Meet the first wave of Open Programme grant recipients