In order to promote public safety in flood-affected areas, the Missouri State Highway Patrol (MSHP) is asking citizens to not fly drones in the following cities around the greater St. Louis area: Union, Eureka, Valley Park, West Alton and Arnold, as well as any area where helicopters are flying.
In a Dec. 31 memo, the patrol explains that unmanned aerial vehicles (UAVs) can compromise the safety of emergency services during flight operations.
Although UAV safety guidelines include flying no higher than 400 feet, operators must understand that law enforcement and other agencies may be operating very close to the ground to monitor flooding and the integrity of levees and other structures. Operating unauthorized drones in or near flooded areas that are being monitored by helicopters can pose a serious danger to the crew on-board, says the MSHP.
Aircraft are also being used for search-and-rescue operations, the highway patrol notes. During these low-level operations, the flight crew’s attention is focused on their mission and should not be compromised by UAV flights.
The MSHP says it and other emergency response agencies appreciate the public’s assistance in this matter.