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Emergency Response & Disaster Management: Drones

UAV drone flying outdoor.Originally novelty items, drones are poised to become a multi-million dollar industry. These small remote-controlled devices are perfectly suited for industrial, emergency response, and building management purposes. This is due to their comparatively low cost compared to traditionally manned aircraft and because they can easily access remote target areas without putting operators at risk.

Improving Emergency ResponseMale figure in a forest setting waving to a UAV drone. Fictitious UAV is a unique design. Depicting the use of drones in search and rescue operations; lens flare, depth-of-field, motion blur.

Locating hurt or missing persons after a disaster is crucial for reducing loss of life. Drones work well for search and rescue because they are uniquely capable of enabling disaster response teams to quickly traverse dangerous locations resulting from floodwaters, wildfires, collapsed buildings, and the like.

Consider, for example, a large earthquake that causes buildings to crumble. Dangerous rubble could pose a serious risk to would-be rescuers, whereas drone operators could quickly scan the area to survey the integrity of remaining walls and structures while simultaneously searching for survivors. Using drones in this fashion reduces some of the risks to first responders by reducing their time spent in dangerous situations.

Building Inspections

Building operators use drones to investigate the exterior of structures for cracks or maintenance issues. Equipped with a camera, a drone can provide engineers and maintenance teams with detailed views of a facility’s exterior. Using drones in this manner can reduce the need for human inspectors, which is a cost-efficient way to detect small but potentially catastrophic problems. It also enables inspection of dangerous building components without associated risks. For example, drone operators can check radiation levels near reactors and closely view chemical factory processes from a safe distance.

Utility giant Con EdisonDrone deliveries box through the city is testing the use of drones to inspect steam boilers that power some of New York City’s iconic buildings. Whereas traditional inspection methods involve building scaffolding and teams of workers traversing tight space, drones armed with traditional and thermal imaging cameras can review deforested areas and correlate the links between primates, mosquitoes and humans.

Disaster Management and Support

Retrieving samples, such as blood or saliva cultures, is crucial when managing a biological threat. Organizations in New Jersey recently conducted drone test flights carrying simulated blood packets and other items on a ship-to-shore mission. Drones are ideal for this type of transport because they vibrate less than traditional automobile journeys, which can damage samples. Drones can also be outfitted to deliver vital supplies, such as telecommunications equipment, to provide instant communication links between disaster victims and first responders.

High-rise Disasters

Drones give operators a bird's eye view.

Drones give operators a bird’s eye view.

Drones are ideal for high-rise fire rescue assistance, as they can monitor the intensity of a fire through sensors, and provide associated real-time updates to firefighters relative to the exact location and number of people involved, as well as additional relevant intel. Large commercial drones of three to four feet widths (and multi-thousands dollar price points) can even carry and disperse fire retardant agents, which could provide firefighting teams with precious time needed to save lives.

Other Uses:

  • Organizations around the world utilize drones for planning purposes before disasters strike.
  • Communities in flood plains can use drones to assess risks and spot particularly vulnerable areas.
  • Drones used in Malaysia are providing data about the links between rates of deforestation and malaria outbreaks, allowing response teams to better prepare for and prevent outbreaks.

    #BeSafe

    #BeSafe

Remember that safety is a daily priority. And with the advances in drone technology, safety is receiving a boost from an affordable tool that could prevent or provide relief from disasters. A convenient and affordable way to make sure you are prepared for disasters and emergencies of virtually every kind is to subscribe to the Allied Universal Training System by Universal Fire/Life Safety Services, which has been designed to help improve and save lives. For more information about the best system out there, or to subscribe, click here.

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