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News Samaritan Has a "No Fly Zone" for Drones Around Hospitals

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Flying is fun – but not around hospitals

Flying an unmanned aircraft system or “drone” is a hobby that gets many people enjoying the great outdoors. But as drone use increases, so has the need to create defined rules to help keep people and property safe.

In fact, the Federal Aviation Administration (FAA) and the state of Oregon both have usage laws that apply to drones, even if you are just a recreational user. And although the open spaces surrounding hospitals and clinics might be tempting, Samaritan Health Services has its own policies around drones on the property.

"Safety is definitely an issue with having drones on the property,” said Joe Hutchinson, director of emergency management, safety and security at Samaritan Health Services. “There are emergency aircraft that fly in and out of the hospital and we just can’t risk a potential collision.”

Hutchinson also notes that drones are often outfitted with cameras that could view in a clinic or hospital window and compromise patient privacy.

Because of those concerns, drones are not allowed on any Samaritan properties.

"It’s so easy to buy a drone that sometimes people don’t even realize they need to check the rules first,” said Hutchinson. “We really want to encourage people to fly safely." 

So a word of advice for those finding a drone under the Christmas tree this year—have fun, be safe and find out where your drone is permitted to fly before taking it out on its maiden voyage.

Learn more about safe drone use at knowbeforeyoufly.org.