How are Firefighters Using Drones

As per a 2018 study by Bard, more than 910 public safety agencies in the US have already acquired drones. And these 910 public safety agencies also include 186 Fire and EMS departments.

When it comes to fire departments, these are the top 3 uses for drones:-

Situational Awareness

Arguably, gaining situational awareness is the  #1 use of drones in fire departments.

Prior to using drones, fire departments used to rely on helicopters to pass on information to the on-scene incident commanders. But, a quick deployment time and comparative ease of flying in congested, urban areas have contributed to the rising popularity of drones in fire departments.

Quick deployment results in faster remediation of an incident which reduces property damage and the likelihood of injury to department members.

Using drones also makes it possible to quickly push information to subject matter experts and department hierarchy who are not on the scence.

Chief Richard Field of LAFD says, “Timely and accurate communication is essential in getting the right resources in place to mitigate an incident”.

Assessing Thermal Ranges

Firefighting drones equipped with thermal cameras can be used to quickly detect hotspots which helps in the optimal allocation of resources. Which means directing/redirecting units to the seat of fire becomes easier and more efficient.

Drone Search and Rescue

A bird’s eye view enables public safety agencies to more quickly eliminate large sections within the target area. This expedited information-gathering is simply not possible at ground level. 

Once you have this intel, units can be directed to specific areas. 

Drones can be used to find visual and thermal signatures in this narrowed area of operation. Additionally, drones can also be used to supervise K-9 units in areas of operation that cannot be accessed by handlers.