As the use of drones for public safety continues to expand, so too does their usefulness in emergency and law enforcement situations. By providing responders with a wide range of aerial reconnaissance and mapping capabilities, drones have revolutionized public safety operations in ways that were never possible before. In this blog post, we’ll explore the benefits of using drones for public safety and discuss some of the different types of drones currently being used. We’ll also cover the requirements for flying a drone for public safety and provide a list of the best drones for public safety available on the market today. So whether you’re a first-time drone operator or an experienced emergency response professional, read on for insights into how drone technology is helping to keep us safe!
How Are Drones Used For Public Safety?
Drone technology is being used in the following areas of public safety.
Law enforcement – Police and other types of law enforcement agencies are utilising drone technology in a number of different ways. They are being used to track suspects and monitor areas with criminal activity. This LATimes article reveals how a SAWT team monitored the movements of an armed robber through the use of drone technology without having to put any of their personnel in danger.
Firefighting – Drones are being used to fight urban and wildfires, they can provide an aerial view of the fire and allow incident commanders to analyse the true scope of the situation and allocate resources accordingly. The live video feed from the drone camera will help firefighters navigate the area safely and identify hotspots, firelines and find survivors.
Search & Rescue – One of the most used cases of drones in public safety is in search and rescue operations. Drones are proving to be a fantastic tool for search and rescue missions as they can be deployed very quickly and come with high-resolution cameras which will increase the chances of locating people who are lost or missing.
Disaster management – In the aftermath of a disaster like an earthquake, hurricane or flooding etc, drones can be deployed to map the entire area within a few hours or days These 2D and 3D maps can be used to analyse the devastation and allow the emergency management team to make informed decisions with regards to the allocation of resources. Drones can also help with disaster preparedness by mapping areas that are prone to natural disasters, disaster response teams will be able to identify areas of high risk and put plans in place to mitigate the damage that may be caused by the disaster and help save lives.
Benefits of using drones for public safety
Drones are quickly becoming a valuable tool for public safety. They are perfect for capturing footage of crime scenes and natural disasters and can also be used for firefighting and search and rescue operations. By using drones for public safety, law enforcement agencies will have aerial robots to better protect and serve their community! With drone technology advancing quickly, they provide many benefits for public safety operations such as the ones detailed below.
Fast Data Acquisition
When it comes to responding to a disaster from a wildfire, hurricane, flooding etc, emergency response teams need accurate data fast so that they have up to date information and know what they are dealing with.
Acquiring this information will allow them to plan an effective response to tackle the disaster fast and efficiently while minimising the risk to personnel and the public.
Drone technology is proving to be a great way of capturing aerial data in disaster areas and turning that data into a variety of digital assets like 2D/3D maps which will help with planning an effective response.
In the event of something like a wildfire, aerial maps can be produced quickly and allow firefighters to assess the extent of the fire, identify potential hotspots, predict the path of the fire and gather data in areas that are to reach and dangerous for humans.
Resources can be allocated accordingly and with the ability of drones to stream HD video footage incident commanders and those managing the emergency response can see events unfold in real time and make any necessary changes to the operation if it is required.
Through the use of photogrammetry software like Pix4D, maps can be produced very quickly and shared across the emergency response team so that everyone is on the same page.
These maps and videos can also be used for investigations and training purposes for disaster preparedness.
An added benefit of drones is because of their portable and compact design, they can be deployed easily, allowing emergency response teams to gather data on a regular basis.
This will allow incident commanders to compare data, analyse anything that may have changed and keep the ground team informed of any operational changes.
Fast data acquisition is very important in any type of emergency, whether it’s a wildfire or assessing the aftermath of a natural disaster, drones provide an effective means of gathering data that will lead to better decision making, a more robust response and keep personnel and the public safe.
Save Lives & Keep Communities Safe
Of course, the main benefit of using drone technology for public safety operations is to help save lives and keep communities safe.
Many commercial drones come equipped with high-resolution RGB and thermal imaging cameras that will help law enforcement agencies and emergency response teams in many types of public safety operations.
For example, drones are being widely used by law enforcement agencies in things like surveillance and security.
They are used in search and rescue operations to find missing people and to locate persons of interest like criminals and escaped convicts.
Other uses include monitoring traffic and areas with high criminal activity as well as bolstering security for large events like conferences, concerts and big sporting occasions.
Police forces can use drone videos and images as evidence to apprehend and prosecute criminals.
Drones are proving to be especially helpful in search and rescue missions thanks to their ultra-portable design and multi-sensor payload capability.
Their portable design allows them to be deployed very quickly and search in and around areas that would have been difficult for manned aircraft to enter like narrow passages.
Many drones come with dual cameras that consist of both a high-resolution RGB and infrared camera. This provides SAR teams with more flexibility as it will allow them to search for heat signatures with the thermal camera if nothing is visible with the RGB camera.
DJI have an excellent interactive map that provides details on rescue operations that have used drones as a vital tool to help find and save people.
You can see the map here and as of writing this article, nearly 900 people have been saved in 39 countries in rescue operations that utilised drone technology.
Save Time & Money
Drones are small, compact, and powered by intelligent batteries this allows them to be deployed very quickly which is of huge benefit in an emergency.
They can scan and map a huge area much faster than a manned aircraft without comprising on data accuracy.
They are also much cheaper to operate and more environmentally friendly as they are not powered by fossil fuels.
Best Drones For Public Safety
There are numerous drones that are suitable for public safety operations, which drone is the best for a particular organisation will depend on the type of missions the organisation is going to use them for.
In my research into the drones used by law enforcement and fire and rescue services, most of these organisations are using drones that come with a dual camera system that has both a high-resolution RGB and thermal imaging camera.
These drones can also be attached with other types of payloads like small LED lights, speakers and even deliver vital supplies like medicine and food.
For example, the LAPD has a drone program that they only use in certain circumstances, although I cannot a find list of the drones they use, searching through news articles, it looks like they have a range of DJI drones from the likes of the Mavic Pro to the more expensive DJI Matrice 300.
The NYPD also has a drone program, and they too operate similar types of drones to those used by the LAPD.
In the UK, the majority of the Police forces that do have a drone program, all use a range of drones from DJI.
In this article from the Dorset Police force, it looks like they have drones from the DJI Matrice and Mavic range. Similar types of drones are also used by the West-Midlands Police, Wiltshire Police and the London Fire Brigade.
So, what are some of the best drones for public safety? The list below highlights just some of the drones that are suitable for public safety operations.
- DJI Matrice 30/30T
- DJI Matrice 300
- DJI Matrice 210
- DJI Matrice Mavic 2 Enterprise Advanced
- Parrot Anafi USA
- Parrot Anafi Thermal
- Autel 2 Dual 640T
As we have seen from this article, drone technology is being utilised in a number of different ways in public safety operations. From providing surveillance for law enforcement agencies to aiding in search and rescue missions, drones have countless applications that will help save lives and help prepare for disaster management.
FAQS About Drones For Public Safety
How are drones used in the public services?
Drone technology is being used in a number of ways to help keep the public safe. Law enforcement agencies are using drones to monitor traffic, follow suspects and keep an eye on areas with high crime. They are also being used by emergency response teams in search and rescue operations and in disaster management.
What kind of drones are used by the Police?
Law enforcement agencies like the Police force use high-end drones that come with high-resolution RGB and thermal imaging cameras. These include DJI drones like those from the Mavic 2 Enterprise, Matrice 300 and Mavic 2 Zoom.