Tampa General, ArcherFRS, Manatee County announce first-in-the-nation 911 integrated drone delivery system

TGH drone to Deliver AED, Narcan and Tourniquet to 911 callers in Manatee Coverage area.

Drone delivery of lifesaving equipment was once a vision and is now a reality in Manatee County as a result of a partnership between Tampa General Hospital (TGH), Manatee County and Archer First Response Systems (ArcherFRS).

 The trio briefed the Manatee County Commission this week on a first-in-the-nation program using drone delivery to accelerate response times to health-related emergencies.

ArcherFRS’s 911 integrated drone delivery system, sponsored by Tampa General, will provide an automated external defibrillator (AED), NARCAN Nasal Spray, and tourniquet to 911 callers in the Manatee County coverage area in less than two minutes and 10 seconds via drone beginning May 1.

“Through the use of technology and innovation, Tampa General Hospital is transforming health care,” said TGH President and CEO John Couris. “This first-in-the-nation program can effectively save lives by responding to health-related emergencies faster than ever before. We’re grateful to our partners in Manatee County, and we’re excited to see this vision come to life. With the ability to measure the impact of this program on the community, we can determine how the technology can be used in more scalable, reproducible ways for the broader benefit of our state.”

When an individual in the coverage area calls 911 with reports of cardiac arrest, opioid overdose or trauma, the Manatee County ECC Dispatch will initiate deployment of the ArcherFRS drone. Dispatch will walk the 911 caller through the application of the equipment needed while traditional emergency response vehicles are en route. With rapid access to lifesaving equipment, individuals benefit from an increased chance of survival and better health outcomes.

ArcherFRS utilizes Freefly Systems AltaX unmanned aircraft equipped with an ASTM-certified Parachute Recovery system, ADS-B receiver, onboard computer and LTE cell modem. The system is installed at Manatee County EMS’ Lakewood Ranch Station on Malachite Drive and will serve a 3.5 square mile area of coverage Monday through Friday during daylight hours. The goal is to expand the coverage area to 35 square miles, 24 hours per day, seven days per week with additional approvals from the Federal Aviation Administration (FAA).

“ArcherFRS is committed to ushering in the next generation of lifesaving emergency response. Sudden cardiac arrest, opioid overdose and trauma impact hundreds of thousands of people in the United States each year; there is a real need for a paradigm shift in the treatment and response to these time-critical emergencies,” said Gordon Folkes, founder and Chief Executive Officer of ArcherFRS. “Unmanned aircraft provide a unique utility in their ability to fly quickly and directly to the scene of an emergency and pose exceptional promise to decrease response times, save lives and improve outcomes. We are excited, together with Manatee County Public Safety and Tampa General Hospital, to redefine what is possible and raise the bar when it comes to cardiac arrest, overdose and trauma response.”

Manatee County Commissioners expressed overwhelming support for the first-in-the-nation program at a public meeting Wednesday. The county will begin issuing public notices this week to residents in the coverage area informing them of the drone delivery system.

“This is an amazing opportunity to be on the cutting edge of technology in emergency response,” said Manatee County Board of County Commissioners Chair Mike Rahn. “We are excited that this first-of-its-kind program is taking flight first here in Manatee County.”

Over the next 12 months, TGH, ArcherFRS and Manatee County will evaluate the performance and effectiveness of the program to determine how the technology can be utilized to serve more residents across the state.

AEDs are used to respond to individuals experiencing sudden cardiac arrest. Each year, 350,000 people in the United States experience a cardiac arrest outside the hospital and only 10% survive.

NARCAN Nasal Spray can prevent death in the event of overexposure to opioids. Last year, more than 112,000 Americans died from opioid-related exposure. The tourniquet is used to apply pressure and stop blood loss for individuals with trauma-related injuries.

Each payload delivered by the drone includes one AED and one dose of NARCAN Nasal Spray.

In the coming weeks, the payload will be expanded to include one tourniquet. Rapid delivery of this lifesaving equipment can significantly improve patient outcomes.

Any 911 caller in the coverage area who utilizes the equipment will benefit from the drone delivery at no cost to them.

Peter Schorsch

Peter Schorsch is the President of Extensive Enterprises Media and is the publisher of FloridaPolitics.com, INFLUENCE Magazine, and Sunburn, the morning read of what’s hot in Florida politics. Previous to his publishing efforts, Peter was a political consultant to dozens of congressional and state campaigns, as well as several of the state’s largest governmental affairs and public relations firms. Peter lives in St. Petersburg with his wife, Michelle, and their daughter, Ella. Follow Peter on Twitter @PeterSchorschFL.


Florida Politics is a statewide, new media platform covering campaigns, elections, government, policy, and lobbying in Florida. This platform and all of its content are owned by Extensive Enterprises Media.

Publisher: Peter Schorsch @PeterSchorschFL

Contributors & reporters: Phil Ammann, Drew Dixon, Roseanne Dunkelberger, A.G. Gancarski, Anne Geggis, Ryan Nicol, Jacob Ogles, Cole Pepper, Gray Rohrer, Jesse Scheckner, Christine Sexton, Drew Wilson, and Mike Wright.

Email: [email protected]
Twitter: @PeterSchorschFL
Phone: (727) 642-3162
Address: 204 37th Avenue North #182
St. Petersburg, Florida 33704