How drones are becoming essential to emergency services

Firefighting Drones

Aerial drones are becoming the must-have tool for emergency services around the world, as more and more applications are discovered for these remote-controlled flying devices.

Catching edge-of-the-action shots

As drones become more readily available and consumers and businesses alike get more familiar with their versatility, new applications for these trendy devices are being discovered every day.

Often at the forefront of new tech usage, the music, film and sports industries were quick to start experimenting. As early as 2014, surfers were using drones to catch aerial footage of themselves tackling big waves, while films such as Skyfall, The Wolf of Wall Street and Jurassic World all used drones to capture sweeping shots.

Drones have also been used at music gigs and festivals, but the large crowds beneath have caused some health and safety issues. For instance, this year’s Glastonbury headliners Muse were criticised when an inflatable drone careened into the crowd at the O2 Arena during their performance in April.

Hot tech for hot spots

It wasn’t long before the US emergency services took notice, realising that the ability drones have to get close to the action makes them ideal for fire suppression and investigation.

In a recent video posted on YouTube by the Office of the Kansas Fire Marshal, fire investigators explain that drones allow them to assess the damage being caused by fires in real-time, and discover where the blaze originated.

“[The drone] gives us that bird’s eye view,” says Fire Marshal Michael Martin. “It gives us the opportunity to see where the hot spots are. It gives us the opportunity to see where the fire has burned and where it is progressing.”

The “largest” drone squadron in Britain

Firefighters in the US aren’t the only emergency workers using drones to keep people safe. In the UK, the Surrey and Sussex Police have just received £250,000 to purchase a brand-new squadron of state-of-the-art UAVs (unmanned aerial vehicles).

After trials were conducted to work out how drones could be used efficiently to help police prevent crime, the Home Office allocated the funding to equip 38 trained UAV flyers.

UK local councils have also jumped on the bandwagon, having started using drones to survey and assess buildings that have planning applications pending, or are in a dangerous state of disrepair.

Flying in aid where it’s needed most

If all that talk of police and drones has you envisioning a scene out of Robocop, then stay calm and consider this: charities have started using drones too.

Manufacturer Matternet has custom-built a drone for Unicef, to trial a 10km flight route through Malawi in southeast Africa. The plan is to transport supplies to remote areas that are among the worst affected by HIV.

Whether it’s catching an aerial shot, obtaining important information, assessing buildings or helping the world’s most difficult-to-reach areas, drones can be employed for almost any purpose – with new applications being discovered daily. So, expect to see them in your industry soon… if they aren’t already.

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