Drones to the Rescue

A dramatic rescue in Australia shows the life/safety potential of unmanned aerial vehicles (UAV), also known as drones. According to The Sydney Morning Herald, two swimmers were saved from drowning when a drone was able to deliver a flotation device to the pair, who were struggling in heavy surf.

That particular drone is primarily intended to be used as part of a shark spotting program, and just happened to be involved in training on that day. The lifeguard supervisor piloting the drone was able to locate the swimmers and deliver a life-saving device within two minutes, whereas it would have taken a human responder several minutes longer to physically get to the swimmers. 

Life/safety applications are one of the strongest use cases for drones in commercial facilities as well, says Mark Schreiber, president and principal consultant of Safeguards Consulting. A drone can be deployed quickly and help the security team get eyes on the situation much more quickly and much more safely than can a human first responder, in particular on a large campus. “With a drone platform, we can get there in a fraction of the time, immediately get video and other sensors on that incident, and quickly evaluate what response is needed,” says Schreiber.

In the Australian case, the drone was already fitted with the flotation device as part of its shark-response capabilities. Could it be possible to fit UAVs with other devices, per the hazard most likely at a facility? Perhaps an AED? What security or life/safety function would be most useful on a drone at your facility or campus?

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