Drones: Coming Soon to a Fire Near You?
January 6, 2014
Recently a New Jersey Assembly Committee passed legislation regulating the use of drone aircraft for police and firefighting activities. Under the new regulations, police can use drones during search and rescue operations and criminal investigations, while fire departments can use them for monitoring fires. All such use must be documented and the records submitted to the state.
The use of drones versus manned aircraft to monitor a fire has strong benefits, such as lower cost of upkeep, lower prospect of loss of life, and better maneuverability. Outfit a drone with infrared camera and you have a wildfire tool able to fly through thick smoke that would ground a manned aircraft. Nighttime scouting missions would deliver real-time data, making a big difference in planning the next day’s operations.
But it isn’t just wildfire operations that could benefit from this technology. Several videos on Statter911.com show drone views of several Detroit fires, both with and without infrared cameras in use. A birds-eye view can show the exact fire location and how the response is – or isn’t – affecting it. Footage like this can be invaluable to commanders on the ground.