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The Use of Drone Technology to Aid First Responders

All around the world, drone technology is being deployed by first responders to enforce social distancing measures, disinfect cities and rural areas, and ferry medical supplies with speed and minimal person to person contact.  

The bond between drones and first responders is ever growing stronger. Firefighters, police, search and rescue teams, and more are benefiting from adding UAVs to their toolkits.

This progress is important for a number of reasons, including the public perception of drone technology and the huge impact drones are having on day to day life saving operations.

Helping first responders work smarter

When we talk about the way drones are being incorporated into industrial environments, the focus is usually on cost savings, streamlined workflows, and gains in efficiency. Of course, those same upsides are present in emergency situations, whether there’s a hazardous material leak or a group of hikers lost in a national park.  

But when drones are supporting the work of first responders, many of the bottom-line benefits translate into something that’s harder to quantify. Suddenly, missions become about saving lives and providing emergency crews with the kind of support you simply can’t put a price on. 

The operational positives are too numerous to count, ranging from enhanced situational awareness to specific applications that are now possible as a result of sophisticated payloads and autonomous flight. 

The adoption of drone technology by emergency crews is saving lives and helping first responders work smarter and safer, all over the world.

Improving the perception of drones

Beyond the lives being saved, it’s hard to understate just how important these emergency service applications are to the wider drone industry. 

The technology and the regulations that govern its use are still in their infancy. As a result, public opinion counts for a lot. The reputation of drones and the way they are used for good will play a significant role in determining how the landscape unfolds in the coming years.  

The lives saved, first responders assisted, and emergency situations eased with the help of drones are all crucial to improving the technology’s reputation amongst those not familiar with drones.

Integrating emergency response with drone technology

This week, drone industry leader DJI announced a partnership with Rosenbauer, the world’s largest supplier of firefighting equipment. Rosenbauer develops and produces vehicles, firefighting systems, fire & safety equipment, and telematics solutions for fire services. 

The two companies will work together to better integrate drones into emergency situation management. In practice, that will see Rosenbauer's operation management platform sync with DJI’s fleet management software, FlightHub. The result will be a more powerful approach that supports first responders with visual and thermal data from above. Armed with this information, incident commanders on the ground make informed decisions on the efficient and safe deployment of resources - whether that’s personnel, vehicles or other equipment.

"Speed and a truly complete overall picture are key criteria for success when emergency service teams have to make purposeful decisions under time pressure,” says Dieter Siegel, CEO of Rosenbauer International. "This cooperation with DJI enables us to consolidate our role as a digital pioneer while we work together to develop an integrated technology for comprehensive, data-based firefighting and disaster management."

DJI has long been collaborating with emergency teams around the world. This latest partnership looks like a huge step in the proliferation of drones to first responders worldwide. 

The use of drones during unfolding emergencies helps to keep both the public and first responders safe. But it’s also vital in improving the prospects of the wider drone industry moving forward. 

To learn more about how drone technology is being used to support multiple industries and efforts visit our recent post, the power of drone data.

Tags: Drone Technology Drones for Good Safety Drones
Malek Murison
Malek Murison

Malek Murison is a technology journalist based in London who covers drone industry news and product reviews for DroneLife. He's written features for the Financial Times and works with some of the drone world's most exciting startups.


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