First responders turn to drones to save lives

More than 300 state and local agencies have added drones to their arsenals, including a Texas police department that used a drone to spot an escaped convict.
4:31 | 08/10/17

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Transcript for First responders turn to drones to save lives
We are back now with a closer look at how drones are changing the way search and rescues are done. First responders are using them more and more to save lives and ABC's gio Benitez is live in the middle of brandy wine creek in Wilmington, Delaware, where he is about to conduct a demonstration. Gio, you're up a creek this morning. Best of luck to you. Good morning. Reporter: That's right, Paula. Good morning to you. We here at ABC news always cover these wildfires, natural disasters, manhunts and really one piece of technology that first responders keep telling us they're using to help save lives and we're talking about drones and I am live here in full gear because in just a moment we are going to show you how they can help save lives but first take a look at this. Reporter: This is a training exercise. Let's go. Simulating an active shooter scenario. Volunteers playing frightened school kids and teachers. The weapons, paint ball guns and the first eyes inside a drone clearing the hallway and spotting the assailant. Suspect, left. Reporter: Triggering the takedown. Suspect down. They got him. The entire time that drone was watching what he was doing. That's how they knew where to go. Reporter: The man behind the sticks officer barrymore of the Mansfield police department in north Texas. Before the drone goes through those doors what is going through your find? Make sure I can get eyes on the bad guy, the suspect and make sure that they're not walking into something that will get them killed. Reporter: Part of the drone task force that spotted this escaped convict back in 2015 hours before a search helicopter could arrive. That unit, one of the more than 300 state and local agencies that have added drones to their arsenals. These aircraft deployable in just minutes, more agile and up to 400 times cheaper than using a helicopter for those eyes in the sky. They're also being used by firefighters outfitted with thermal imaging cameras. With better information comes better decisions. It's the next best thing since a fire hose. Reporter: To show what it can do I'm led into a fire training facility completely filled with smoke. Let's go. Reporter: That's me on the right. With members of the Joshua fire department, I crouch down in the corner playing a trapped victim. From the outside there's no way for rescuers to know if anyone is inside but a quick view with that thermal and there I am. High-tech firefighting. That's the way to do it. Reporter: But we're not done yet. Our final scenario, search and rescue. In June a drone spotting these two lost Colorado hikers and their dog in just two hours. And in January, those thermal C cameras finding these stranded kayakers at night in just 20 minutes and as night falls here I head into the woods so a drone can find me. The drone delivering a kind of lifeline. A radio with a glow stick attached for easy spotting. I have the walkie-talkie. I'm not hurt. We will send a search team for you right now. Reporter: Then something I never expected. They have a spotlight on a drone. This is the kind of spotlight you might expect from a helicopter. Waif to the camera and say hi. You found us! I can't believe it. And right here right now in the brandy wine creek we'll show you how a drone can help save a life. Take a look now. We are with drone pilots from the Wilmington police department and they are flying a life jacket out to me right now. In fact, just ten days ago they had a rescue right here. The water was over the rock and you can see right there all that debris, that's actually from a real flash flood. You can hear that powerful drone above me right now and we're going to take this life jacket off. I've got the life jacket and now what this will do is give rescuers more time to actually get to me and save my life. You know, what's really incredible about this, more than 50 people have been saved with the help of a drone since 2013. Paula. More than 50. That's a stat that we like to hear. Things ended well for gio. We're happy to report that but a pretty incredible endorsement from that fire chief it's the next best thing to a fire hose in that's the what I to use a drone. I thought gio was going to hook himself oup to the drone and take himself out of there.

This transcript has been automatically generated and may not be 100% accurate.

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