The role of drones in disaster management.

Over the decade, drones have taken up roles in areas and industries that were unexpected when they first started being used outside of a military space. The role of drones in disaster management is one such example.

In a world filled with man-made and natural disasters of various levels of intensity and impact, drones with their speed, efficiency, and flight capabilities, are making their mark in emergency response. A few examples include their use during the recent hurricanes in Haiti, folding in the Balkans, and earthquakes in China.

What drones can do when it comes to disaster management

1. Conduct wide-ranging assessments and inspections

With their flight and aerial photography and videography capabilities, drones are the perfect tool for surveying large areas of land such as extensive disaster zones and determining their condition and the extent of the disaster. The same goes for infrastructure – drones are able to survey potentially dangerous and unstable structures in such a way that human surveyors cannot, as well as detect hazardous chemical and gas leaks, perhaps preventing further disasters from taking place.

2. Offer a timely, efficient, and cost-effective response

Drones can be ready to fly within a very short turn-around time, are hard-wearing and durable, are able to access many hazardous or difficult spaces, and swiftly gather and report back on real-time data. And all at a much lower cost and resource allocation than manned flight operations.

3. A safe surveillance option

Human rescue operations, especially in areas where a disaster has just occurred, can be treacherous for first responders. Often, these teams are forced to go into a situation ‘blind’, unable to know what awaits them. Drones offer a chance to survey a site before human entry for data-gathering purposes as well as providing aerial footage and 3D maps of potential routes and target areas, saving precious time and energy in helping get emergency services to where they need to be.

4. Advanced sensor capabilities

Beyond photography and filming, drones can do so much more than just take pictures or generate maps. With their visual, thermal, LiDAR, hyperspectral and multispectral scanning capabilities, drones can be used in search and rescue missions in disaster situations such as earthquakes or landslides. Thermal sensors, for example, can be used for ‘terrain truthing’ exercises, detecting the human heat signatures vital in leading responders to trapped survivors.

When used as commercial tools in the hands of accredited and experienced professionals, drones can be an excellent aide in disaster relief operations, helping operators to execute and conduct emergency relief tasks in easier and more efficient ways, saving more time, money, resources, and, ultimately lives.

Want to know how drones can be used to assist in emergencies in your industry or learn how aerial mapping and surveying services can enhance your day-to-day operations? Talk to us. We offer a wide range of drone-driven commercial services and turnkey solutions, and have the experience and accreditation to offer you the best options without compromising on delivery or quality.

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