After the Winds: Using Drones after a Storm

With Hurricane Harvey set to make landfall within the next 24 hours, it seems the perfect time to highlight how a fire rescue or law enforcement drone can be used to aid in clean up, search and rescue, or reconnaissance after a large storm.

One of the chief uses of a drone after a storm is getting eyes in the sky to help determine the hardest hit areas, and where resources should be allotted. With the normal urban landscape reduced to chaos, it can be very difficult from the ground to determine the path of the storm and the places where aid is needed most urgently. A drone can get past roadblocks, accurately map disaster zones, and use thermal imaging to find lost persons at night.

Search and Rescue
One of the worst case scenarios for a hurricane are people trapped by debris or flood water. Hurricane Katrina highlighted this terrible reality when hundreds of people were trapped on their roofs as flood waters rose around them. A drone equipped with a simple payload drop system could be a highly efficient way to to deliver first aid packages, water, or food to stranded people while rescue crews work to recover them. UAVs can also be used to map out the location of survivors, so that rescue crews can create the most efficient route.

Clean Up
Once the emergency has subsided, drones can still be useful by providing detailed maps of the primary disaster areas, helping organize volunteers and clean up crews, and identifying dangerous areas.

These are just some of the ways UAVs can be extremely useful for the fire service or law enforcement after a big storm. For more use cases, check out our infographic for "21 Ways Your Department Could Have Used A Drone Last Year."