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How to Use Drones in Emergency Response

How to use Drones in Emergency Response

Unmanned Aerial Vehicles (UAV) or drones are aircrafts that are piloted without a human pilot on board. These aircrafts are often met with differing opinions because of their use in surveillance and deployments. But more positive applications for drones that are proving them to be valuable assets is their use in emergency response situations.

Drone technology has advanced considerably over the last decade. They’re not only smaller and more agile than larger aircraft but also better equipped to handle certain emergency situations. Natural and even man-made disasters often create conditions that are unsafe for relief workers to work in. Drones can take on these roles at a fraction of the cost of deploying aircraft like helicopters.

One thing to make absolutely clear is you are not allowed to fly a drone if there is an emergency situation happening. Emergency service helicopters will be forced to land as it is very dangerous for them to continue operating if there is a drone in the area. Just remember the following message from CASA: “If you fly, they can’t”. It’s tempting to capture footage but you’re also disrupting emergency services if you do.

With that said, here are some ways that drones are currently being used for emergency response. The use of commercial drones has been authorised for each situation.

Search and Rescue
Search and rescue missions require significant resources and manpower to cover large areas. Drones are able to assist in these situations by examining the ground from above using high-definition video and thermal imaging. These technologies make it possible to locate and rescue missing persons who either became lost or unable to physically make their way back.

In the UK, police forces deployed a drone that was able to locate a teenage girl and her suspected attacker with just a description of the surrounding area. The use of drones has greatly assisted police forces around the world with search and rescue missions.

Dangerous Chemical Spills
Biological and nuclear chemicals can leak into the surrounding habitat for different reasons. Common causes of CBRNE events – an acronym for chemical, biological, radiological, nuclear or explosive – include power plant malfunctions, equipment failure, operator error, and natural disasters. These conditions make it incredibly dangerous for people to work in but assessing the damage is critical.

A powerful 9.0 magnitude earthquake caused a massive tsunami to hit Japan in March 2011 which triggered an evacuation at the Fukushima nuclear plant. The plant suffered extensive damage which caused radiation leaks and left many reactors unable to restart. The Honeywell T-Hawk drone along with many others were deployed to monitor radiation exposure and exploring the disaster site to determine what went wrong.

Building Fires
Firefighters put their lives in serious risk when responding to and combating volatile fires. They need to know what kind of situation they’re dealing with before they can go in.

The New York Fire Department launched its first-ever tethered drone in 2017 in response to a building fire. The drone incorporated a high-definition camera which provided real time video and an infrared camera to pinpoint the concentration of heat within the structure. The drone was also outfitted with communication systems which allowed the chief to assess the situation and make key decisions.

Opportunities for Drone Pilots

Now is a great time to be a drone pilot. Demand for experienced individuals who can pilot commercial drones for emergency situations has been steadily growing. By taking a training course and earning a CASA certification, you open yourself up to exciting career opportunities. If your dream is to get certified as a professional drone pilot, then get in touch and we’ll be happy to answer your questions about our training courses.

Author’s Bio

Alex Morrison has worked with a range of businesses giving him an in depth understanding of many different industries including home improvement, financial support and managed IT services. As the owner of Integral Media, he is now utilising his knowledge and experience with his rapidly increasing client portfolio to help them achieve their business goals.

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