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Feature

The use of drones in the emergency services

Posted on: 27 Jul 17
The use of drones in the emergency services

Summary

The use of drones in the emergency services

Care in the air - it’s what has already saved thousands of lives through the Air Ambulance service and now drones are having their moment. According to Wired, police across Devon and Cornwall have started to introduce a 24-hour drone unit: 'The drones will largely be used for surveillance of crime scenes and to help in the search for missing people, and it will be the first 24-hour drone unit in the UK, operating out of nine police stations,' stated the article.

It’s vital to the Devonshire and Cornwall police that the drones protect people without being obstructive of their privacy. So far, they have been well received as a good alternative to police trying to make their way across tricky landscapes by vehicles. Due to cuts to police budgets, it’s also a cheaper alternative to surveillance, which in theory should reap benefits.

Steve Barry, the national spokesman on the drones said, “If delivering the best service within the budget means using drones for something, a cop is now free to go to that burglary. It’s about freeing resources,” when he spoke to the Daily Mail.

Elsewhere in the world, drones are providing enormous help in the health care sector as well as being used for drone surveying over high-risk areas. Over in Malawi, the first humanitarian drone corridor has been launched to provide medicine and Wi-Fi to hard to reach areas. This follows the success of Unicef’s achievements with drones last year.

“In March last year, Unicef used drones to transport dried blood samples from infants for HIV testing in laboratories. The study showed that drones are feasible to provide additional support for transporting medical supplies.”

Following on from this success, drones will now be used for imagery of locations for flood monitoring, to provide Wi-Fi connectivity to schools and remote areas and also for transporting lightweight medical supplies and samples to clinics and laboratories.

It hasn’t been an easy start over in Malawi with local people not used to this sort of technology and being extremely suspicious of the flying objects in the sky:

“Before we did the sensitisation people thought we were introducing Satanism. After we did the sensitisation, they said it’s for the common good,” Wallace Chipete, deputy co-ordinator for development in the ministry of information, told the Mail & Guardian.

However, when the final drone tests were run, the children from the local school ran over to see what the drone was up to with excitement and no fear. “We were told about these drones and how they would help bring medicine,” one child said.

The success so far with drones is impressive and leads you to think what else are they capable of?

Debbie Fletcher

Last updated on: 27/07/2017 09:14:07

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