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Emergency Response Assisted by UAVs

Updated: Apr 10, 2023

damaged building
Drone Damage Assessment

Drones are becoming a lot more commonplace than just a few short years ago, especially when it comes to commercial usage. One sector that has seen enormous growth is that in the area of Emergency and Disaster Response. Personally, I have only lived in Florida for a very short period of time compared to most (this summer marks three years), so previously I had no experience in the raw power and devastation that ensues due to this phenomenon that many of you have faced quite often in the coastal states. Enter Hurricane Ian, and I quickly learned just how much I underestimated the need for preparedness.

But I digress – back to the drones!

Drones Improve Disaster Response

Drones profoundly impact disaster response, from performing search and rescue operations to damage assessment. Everyone from Emergency Management personnel to insurance companies has found that drones are not only a very cost-effective and efficient tool. They also perform tasks that typically would require someone to place themselves in a potentially dangerous predicament. When a natural disaster or emergency situation occurs, having the ability to get a real-time depiction of what one is up against is highly beneficial. When storm surge from a hurricane like Ian causes catastrophic flooding, many people requiring rescue efforts take to the highest possible location of their dwellings – how much more effective is a drone to identify victims stranded on their roof than someone else cruising a flooded street in a boat? Pairing the use of thermal capabilities that are available on many drone platforms increases the effectiveness of search and rescue operations.

Flooded buildings  captured by drone
Aerial view of flood damage captured from a drone.

In addition to the search and rescue aspect, drones are being used more frequently to perform damage assessments. Not only is one able to take high-quality video or still imagery of damages caused by storms, but it can be done so from different perspectives and angles that may not be accessible due to debris or dangerous conditions. One particular incident that recently occurred here locally was a train derailment that took place just a few weeks ago in Sarasota. This train had six box cars that tipped over during the incident, including one that was carrying 30,000 gallons of propane – talk about a scary predicament to put emergency responders in! Fortunately, there were no indications of leaks, but wouldn't one rather that be something that is determined remotely through the use of a drone than having to send someone in harm's way to investigate? According to the American Association of Railroads, roughly three derailments occur each day in the United States – no, that is not a typo – an average of three derailments per day! While not many are major incidents, just a month prior to the Sarasota derailment, there was a massive incident in Ohio that caused environmental concerns after toxic materials leaked into the air and water.

Contact SurvTech Solutions to learn more about Drones

All said drones are a great tool to utilize for Emergency and Disaster Response. Being able to quickly and safely assess a situation without having to place responders in direct harm earns drones a spot in every incident response in my eyes! Contact SurvTech Solutions to learn more about how drones can benefit your organization!


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