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Drones

help us survey an incident from above, providing live images and thermal imagery.

By providing an aerial view of an incident drones help Incident Commanders develop tactics to help tackle it. Drones may also be able to access areas which are unsafe for firefighters. Overall, they improve safety for our crews, and help improve our response to incidents.

Types of drone

We have two drones – the DJI Matrice 210 and the DJI Mavic 2 Enterprise Dual.

The DJI Mavic 2 Enterprise Dual drone

What the drones can do

  • Fly up to 400 ft above ground level, or higher in an emergency
  • Fly as fast as 51 mph
  • Provide images from the two powerful cameras on each drone
  • Act as a loudspeaker to give instructions or reassurance
  • Shine a bright spotlight in dark or low light conditions

The cameras

The 30x optical camera gives Commanders on the ground, and in remote locations, live images of the incident scene. It’s so powerful it can read a number plate half a mile away.

The thermal imaging camera can detect heat sources, and may be used to check the temperature of cylinders at risk of exploding, monitor heat spread in a warehouse fire, or spot casualties in water.

Drone operators

In order to operate the drones, a drone pilot must have completed a week-long training course, and extra training for more specialist uses like night flying.

 

Drone operators

Each drone is operated by a minimum of two people – one who pilots the drone and one who operates the cameras. Whenever possible a third person will also attend, to help with setting up and acting as an observer for any hazards.