Unmanned Aerial Vehicles (also known as UAVs or Drones) can provide many benefits to firefighters, feeding back vital footage and information to assist in extinguishing fires as quickly as possible.
The way in which the devices can help are through attached cameras, sensor payloads and infrared technology, which can provide information such as which direction the fire is heading so firefighters can deter the spreading of it, monitor the magnitude of the fire, detect where the fire started (hot spots) and access the damage caused.
The attached technology onto the UAVs can also help detect areas in immediate danger which will allow firefighters to distribute warnings to those in surrounding areas of any risk and evacuate any humans or animals in proximity. The infrared technology can detect any human or animal life trapped inside buildings endangered by the fire and drones can also carry first aid equipment to those affected by the fire, particularly in remote locations where is isn’t always easy to access by emergency services.
UAVs can do all of this in a much quicker time frame than physically possible for humans and are able to get closer to the fire without endangering any human lives.
A recent example of when a UAV demonstrated the necessary skills to assist with firefighting operations came from a team of people from Lockheed Martin Corporation and Kaman Aerospace Corporation. The team tested the Indago Quad Rotor drone which was able to detect fire hot spots, then transmit this data back to an operator who instructed the K-MAX helicopter to go and autonomously extinguish the fire. The K-MAX helicopter was able to drop more than 24,000 pounds of water onto the fire in just one hour.
Although UAVs were once a device associated only with the military, they are now becoming extremely popular for a number of sectors within the commercial industry and are proving to be particularly beneficial for use within the public sector.
To hear more about the potential uses of UAVs within the public sector check out Sky Tech Event 2015, at the Business Design Centre in London, an event chartering the possibilities for UAVs within the commercial industry. The event includes a free exhibition and four conferences, one of which focuses solely on the role of UAVs within the public sector. This will focus in greater detail on UAVs for firefighting but also incorporate search and rescue, policing and security. To register for free exhibition tickets, head to www.skytechevent.com
Further information on the Lockheed Martin Corporation and Kaman Aerospace Corporation demonstration can be found here, http://www.fs2000.org/2014/11/19/uavs-demonstrate-firefighting-capabilities/