Ever since drones have become popular among the public, they have been used for different purposes. People have not only used them for recreation but also for mass photography. Event organizers are now promoting drone cinematography. This has also opened up the possibility of drones being used for other uses such as fire suppression. It may sound like a crazy idea but mass-scale research is already underway for this project.
How Drones are Helping the Fire Department?
There are plenty of ways in which drones are currently helping the fire department. Firstly, drones provide direction to firefighters. When it comes to tall buildings that have caught fire, many firefighters are unable to visually see where exactly the fire is coming from. Reaching these tall buildings is not an easy task. Time is limited so even if firefighters rush inside the building, it could cost them valuable minutes to reach the spot.
Helicopters help out the firefighters in such instances but are a very expensive option. A helicopter will consume more fuel than 3 fire fighting trucks. On the other hand, a drone operator will simply hover the drone at different spots and help the firefighters by telling the exact location of the fire. He will be able to move in closer with the drone and that’s a limitation for a helicopter because they are too big to move closer.
The best part? Drones will not take up much fuel and are a convenient and much more reliable solution to firefighting. The fuel sources of the world are already drying up which is why drones will be quite useful as they work via electric batteries. By moving the drone to different spots and accessing the fire-building from different angles, the firefighters are able to take control over the fire at a rapid speed. However, the concept under consideration is whether drones can actually replace firefighters and suppress fire on their own.
Can Drones Suppress Fire?
This is the biggest question as many people are unable to understand the mechanism behind this concept. It may sound complex but is fairly simple. There are multiple ways to do this. Firstly, a water pipe can be connected with a drone. When the drone reaches a particular spot where fire has to be extinguished, the drone operator will release the water through the pipe which could then be used at the desired spot.
The drones will be able to go in closer as well as provide for more safety of the firefighters as they will be operating the drones from a safe distance. Besides, the camera in the drones will help in evaluating which spots should be suppressed from fire first and which ones can be delayed a bit. Even though a fire truck has a long ladder and accessibility features, the concept of a drone not only makes it convenient but also makes it efficient to suppress the fire.
There are many ways to use a micro drone. Another way to suppress fire just via the help of a drone is to have mini tanks attached to the drone. In this case, a single drone would not help and drone swarms would be needed to complete the purpose. If tens of drones along with mini water tanks are used to suppress the fire, it will help out the firefighters to a major extent. These drones could be refilled with water. The firefighters will still have to work alongside these drone swarms, but the work per firefighter will be reduced.
What Type of Drones are Needed for Fire Suppression?
It is essential to know that not every drone can be used for fire suppression. Most drones are made for simple recreation purposes and do not offer wide-scale compatibility. In the situation of mass spread fire, the temperatures rise up by a great percentage which could affect the components of a regular drone.
One drone that is considered appropriate for firefighting is Matrice 210 V2. Unlike regular drones, it comes with a thermal camera and a visual camera.
Let’s talk about the drone first. The Matrice 210 V2 is one of the highly stable drones we can think of. Even in high winds, this drone can maintain its position without moving away. The maximum wind speed resistance is 39.4 feet per second. Besides, this drone is water-resistant. Therefore, even if the firefighters accidentally throw some water on this drone, there are high chances that nothing will happen to it. Besides, other smart features are also a part of this drone such as a smart control management system, flight safety, data storage, and extreme maneuverability as well.
Further upgrades are being made to the Matrice 210 V2 to make it even better when it comes to fire extinguishing.
Besides, the thermal and visual cameras are the main reason why this drone does the job in the most appropriate manner. The XT2 Thermal Camera has been designed in a way that it can even help the firefighters see through thick smoke. People stuck inside a building and are not visible due to the smoke can be easily identified with this thermal camera. Besides, the refresh rate of this camera is high allowing for a clear video as well as a minimum blur.
On the other hand, there is a Z30 Visual Camera as well. While thermal cameras offer a lot, a visual camera would always provide a better picture and view of the obstacles. It comes with 30X Optical zoom and 6X Digital zoom which allows the firefighters to see through the tiniest spots in a crystal clear manner. The cameras are water-resistant and made to withstand the odd temperatures that would be near a fire sight.
In a nutshell, modern drones are already helping out the fire department by providing visual aid. The camera technology and drone technology have significantly improved over the past few years.
Future of Fire Suppression with Drones
In many universities and research institutes of the world, there are experiments being conducted to test how well drones can be used for the purpose of fire suppression. As of now, there are positive results that show that there are high chances that drones will be used for firefighting someday. Besides, the governments are also likely to fund and support this research because it helps in saving valuable resources in terms of fuel and other associated costs.
In the future, the following possibilities can be expected
- Drones being connected via water pipes to suppress fire
- Drone swarms with mini water tanks attached to them
- Drone swarms with sand and soil in them to suppress fire
- Highly sophisticated camera and drone equipment which will provide better imagery
- Drone Swarms Alert Management System
- Specific firefighter teams would be working on drones to suppress the fire.
Drones are already being used in the form of camera support for the fire department. The fire department takes drones with them to see where the fire is coming from, or whether any person is trapped inside and what could be the best way to take them out. As far as the concept of a water pipe connected to a drone is concerned, the idea is still on its way to make breakthroughs in fire extinguishing. We hope to see this in the next few years.