Multirotors Used for Fighting Fires

Multirotors with their wide varieties of payloads in uses have found their way into the business of assisting in saving lives and property! Commercialization of Unmanned Aerial System Technology has started to prove its use among fire chiefs around the country, and they are now starting to utilize the technology to give them a broader span and view of a dangerous situation. There are multiple types of hardware that are being used for detection of fires and also where the hottest points are in both urban and forest fires.

Infrared in multiple forms has been enabled and downsized enough to be placed on a Unmanned Aerial System multirotor and can be used to detect where possible fires are that fire fighters along with other first responders may have not originally seen from the ground. Infared and thermal technology will enable firefighters in situations such as forest fires, like those out in California, to detect which direction the heat of the flames may be moving. This will allow them and others to plan ahead for possible evacuations and help see where to lay down detergents to fight the fires.

Another use for the multirotor is to simply provide an overview of the situation. This will provide footage directly to emergency operation managers in order for them to plan out future steps to put out fires, look for people, and first responders that may be trapped within a building or the fiery forest area. This will allow firefighters to coordinate a more efficient rescue.

Unmanned aerial systems such as fixed wings could be recommended for forest fire type situation. This is due to the larger span or area coverage the operations manager will need to see. Multirotors will likely be used in urban areas due to their large amount of maneuverability and also the ability to stay in place. In order to be feasible for any of these operations the Unmanned system must be capable of staying aloft for long periods of time sometimes up to 3 hours if needed to provide a feasible amount of data back to the operations manager.

Commercial companies such as MicroDrones, a German based company, have enabled their multirotors to stay aloft for up to an hour of flight time. This could be very feasible within an urban environment, but at a cost of almost $5,000 for the smallest quadcopter. This price may prove to be too hefty of a sum for first responders to pay for its uses.

In the end, with proven technology, SUAS technologies will become cheaper for more cost feasible applications to the commercial field. In the field of EMS were a life is on the line, what is the price of losing a life compared to the possibilities greatly increased probability of saving many due to having an eye in the sky on a situation?

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James McDanolds

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