Firefighters have used a drone to help fight a spate of wildfires in Lancashire - and have praised it for providing vital situational awareness and increasing the safety and speed of the operations.
One of the wildfires tore through land in Bacup, north of Rochdale, after it erupted at just before 10pm on Saturday. Lancashire Fire and Rescue officers believe that the fire was started deliberately and an investigation has been launched. The incident at Bacup was one of a number of wildfires that crews had to tackle over the weekend.
The drone, fitted with a camera, was used to give an overall view of the incidents and showed the extent of the fires.
Chris Rainford, from Lancashire Fire and Rescue Service, said that it was useful to know this information before committing firefighters into a very dangerous environment.
He also said that he was pleased to see that the investment in technology was paying dividends.
Drone Technology Paying Off For Lancashire Fire and Rescue Service
The use of the drone during the weekend's wildfires was undeniably useful for Lancashire Fire and Rescue Service, but it isn't the first time that the crew has turned to UAV (unmanned aerial vehicle) technology.
Earlier this month, the fire service called in its drone to provide an aerial view of a major blaze which took hold at The Bureau Centre for the Arts, in Blackburn.
In March, the drone was called into action following a garage fire in Haslingden. Chris Rainford said that 'it played an important role in monitoring fire spread and gave a safe indication of possible cylinder hazards'. As you can see, a thermal camera was also used - helping to pick up hot spots.
At the start of the year, the drone was used to tackle a gas cylinder fire that took place between Lancaster and Garstang.
Chris Rainford tweeted this:
However, the drone is also being used for more than just helping to fight fires. For instance, towards the end of March and over the space of 24 hours, the Lincolnshire Fire and Rescue drone was called out to help with a number of missions, including two water rescues, two searches for vulnerable people and various Community Policing jobs with Lancashire Tactical Operations.
Which Tools Can Help Me?
Drones can be used for a range of emergency-service missions. These include:
Lancashire Fire and Rescue Service uses an Aeryon SkyRanger R60 for its operations.
There are also a range of DJI drones and cameras - stocked by Heliguy - available to help the emergency services.
The drones in the Matrice Series, for example, are powerful performers, capable of carrying multiple payloads, including the top-class zoom camera, the Z30; the XT2 thermal camera; or sensors from the ViewPro range.
Aside from the Matrice Series, other drones available to help the emergency services include DJI’s Mavic 2 Enterprise and Mavic 2 Enterprise Dual; the latter having a thermal camera.
One of the perks of these drones is that they are small, foldable and easily transportable/deployable, and come with three accessories – a loud speaker, dual spotlight and beacon. These tools can be invulnerable in certain situations – for instance, providing vital information to an injured person from afar.