First responders use drones in Harvey rescues

ABC News' Gio Benitez reports on how drones are being used in search and rescue operations and to inspect the levees protecting neighborhoods from flooding in Texas.
3:04 | 09/04/17

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Transcript for First responders use drones in Harvey rescues
And we are back now with more on those dramatic recovery efforts that are under way in Texas and a cutting-edge tool that's helping to save lives. Droughns are being used in search and rescue operations creating 3D maps of the flooding and damage and ABC's gio Benitez down there in Houston for much of the coverage is here with a closer look for us this morning. Good mornigg to you, gio. Reporter: Good morning. "Gma" has been taking a look at the creative ways first responders are using drones to save lives. This fact they call it a crucial piece of rescue equipment and now we know they're using them right now in the wake of hurricane Harvey. We've got three rescue boats here. In the urgent effort to save lives amid Harvey's devastation rescuers take to boats, helicopters, even jet skis but also making their way to the front lines, drones, the texas-based public safety uas response team deploying to the area. Their eye in the sky spotting structural damage to this building forcing workers to evacuate. The roof was caving in and there were people in there working. Reporter: The team inspecting critical levees protecting neighborhoods. And then we're taking that video and streaming it back to the emergency operations center allowing them to make the decisions that they need to make on the recovery efforts and where we go forward. Reporter: These aircraft deployable in just minutes, more agile and up to 400 times cheaper than using a helicopter. Outside of Harvey we found drones being used by firefighters who outfit them with thermal imaging cams. It's better information and with better information comes better decisions. It's the next best thick to the fire hose. Reporter: To show what it can do I'm led into a fire training facility with smoke. That's me on the right. 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. Our final scenario search and rescue. In June a drone spotting these two lost Colorado hikers and their dog in just two hours. And as night falls here I head into the woods, 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. You found us! I can't believe it. And that was a drone, believe it. Incredibly more than 300 state and local agencies have added drones to their arsenals and tens of thousands of lives have been saved because of them in just the past few years. If you thought these were just toys, forget about it. So encouraging to see them using drones for something positive. That's right. Glad you're safe, by the way. Thank you. Yes, and great job covering the floods. This is the wave of the future. Coming up next our big board

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

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