Watch CBS News

Somerville Officials Using Drones In Effort To Prevent Roof Collapses

SOMERVILLE (CBS) – With more snow on the way this weekend, the city of Somerville is partnering with a young start up duo to look out for roof collapses.

Jovan Tanasijevic and Emilie Pickering founded Above Summit about a year ago. It's a video production based in Somerville that specializes in using drone technology for aerial shots.

Now they're spending the week flying drones over public buildings to check for snow drifts, ice, and potential roof collapses.

"We've gotten more involved with the city. It's exciting, especially in an emergency situation like this," Pickering said.

Somerville Mayor Joe Curtatone has been impressed with the use of technology.

"The quality is incredible. It's real time information, it's fast, it's quick, and it alleviates the problem of sending people physically up on roofs so it's safer," Curtatone said.

Drone Somerville
Drones are being used to fly over Somerville roofs covered in snow. (WBZ-TV)

Curtatone ordered schools closed for a full week during the heavy snowfall because the city's flat roofs are highly susceptible to collapses. Drones not only make viewing rooftops safer, they can cover more ground in less time.

"We knocked out 10 properties within a few hours and I think that's a safety concern having someone go up there," Tanasijevic said.

Curtatone admits the drones are no replacement for city engineers who will have to physically assess the rooftops themselves. But it keeps them from going up on the roofs constantly.

"I don't think one is a substitute for the other but I think it's incredible, helpful information to either assess what we need to do, affirm what we have done, or identify opportunities for further intervention," Curtatone said.

With another storm on the way this weekend more roofs are at risk, which means Pickering and Tanasijevic could be in business with the city for the foreseeable future as this winter drones on.

WBZ NewsRadio 1030's Karyn Regal Reports


View CBS News In
CBS News App Open
Chrome Safari Continue
Be the first to know
Get browser notifications for breaking news, live events, and exclusive reporting.