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Beyond Futuristic Cameras
The risky firefighting job relies on ground machinery and specialized taskforce. Firefighters arrive at the scene, detect the fire and start pumping water and various chemicals, doing their best to save lives and minimize property damage.
Only that acting on the ground, within heavy smoke and the high temperatures makes it almost impossible to identify the fire source, to assess the flames' path, to search for people in danger and gather all the needed information. Until lately, commanders were relying on the same strategies and instincts as they always have. But now, the new drone technologies give firefighters a much better understanding of what is happening at the scene as they dispatch their men into dangerous and fast changing situations.
Unmanned Aerial Vehicles (UAVs) which are equipped with high performance video cameras and can fly over fire scenes for long periods of time, open totally new perspectives for the teams on the ground. They are mitigating risks by providing firefighters with new valuable information. With the help of drones, fires are put down faster, lives are saved and property damage is reduced.
Drones provide critical top-down perspectives on dangerous areas. This is helpful in dealing with most fires, and especially important and effective when dealing with wildfires. Flying overhead, drones can detect and relay in real time critical spots where fires can spread into neighboring areas. In the case of wildfires, they can also detect key locations which can be used for airdropped water and fire retardants.
UAVs are also able to watch the scene with thermal cameras. They can gather information through thick smoke which would limit the abilities of manned helicopters. UAVs equipped with cameras help firefighters keep their people out of danger while they survey the areas. UAVs can also provide valuable and potentially life-saving information to firefighters already on the ground, altering them to changing conditions or warning them when the fire crosses specific lines. And most important, drones can detect people who are trying to escape the blaze and save them, or animals trying to escape wildfires.
With all these benefits, UAVs are becoming a valuable part of firefighting units across the world. Whenever firefighters are facing a marsh fire, forest fire, or local fire, they can now send their drone in the air to give a real time video image of the area. Not only it gives a real time view of the fire on an HD monitor, but it doesn't risk the ground teams.