How drones are changing search and rescue

Drones are rapidly entering many different industries. UAVs are designed to provide cost-effective real-time data and imaging, have proven their infinite value under difficult conditions, and are reducing personnel risks. They are ideal for any job that can benefit from aerial surveillance points, and are ideal for various applications including search and rescue (SAR). Today, drones are used in many traditionally time-consuming or expensive search and rescue operations, including searches for suspects, missing persons, and disaster survivors.

Advantages of drones in search and rescue operations

Search and rescue drones are used by emergency services such as police officers, firefighters, and volunteer rescue teams, because they are very suitable for finding missing persons in a vast environment and criminal victims who need rescue in any environment. After natural disasters such as earthquakes and hurricanes occur, drones can provide rescuers with important real-time visual information and data. They can also be eyes in the air, and can be used to find lost people even in difficult terrain. Whenever a life-threatening disaster occurs, emergency responders will use drone information and real-time images to make better decisions and save valuable time. UAVs can quickly provide situational awareness on an unprecedented scale, thereby greatly reducing the time and resources required to locate and rescue injured or lost people.

Many agencies involved in search and rescue operations have turned to drones to improve their life-saving capabilities. UAVs can be deployed within minutes of arriving at the scene, saving time and reducing the deployment cost of manned aircraft. Unmanned aircraft flying at high altitudes and equipped with high-resolution cameras for daytime and thermal infrared sensors for search at night will greatly increase the possibility of target detection. Infrared cameras further help find missing persons; when these cameras are easily installed on the drone, they can detect the heat of the human body. This function greatly improves the ability to find people or objects during the day or night, and these people or objects are originally invisible. Law enforcement has been using thermal imaging cameras installed on manned aircraft for many years to assist in tracking and finding criminal suspects; drones have made these tasks easier and safer. UAVs can also be used to capture the same imaging technology in a faster and more economical way. The fire department benefits from the same function: the ability to rapidly deploy drones for surveillance provides firefighters with real-time aerial video. Thermal imaging cameras can provide vision through smoke and can quickly identify people in need of rescue in the path of wildfires or burning buildings.

What makes drones so attractive to searchers and rescuers is that they can fly into dangerous and hard-to-reach places without putting the pilot and crew at risk. In addition to safety advantages, drones can also bring additional benefits, that is, drones can perform these types of operations at a fraction of the cost of traditional helicopters or airplanes. Because rescuers can operate multiple drones covering a wider area, the overall life-saving capability and operating efficiency can be improved, thereby providing them with real-time aerial footage of the area where they can find survivors. Unmanned aircraft can also replace manned aircraft by transporting medical kits and other supplies to areas where rescuers may be isolated or inaccessible, thereby helping people stay safe until rescuers arrive.

In situations where quick response time is of the utmost importance, drones can help speed up rescue efforts and improve efficiency, thus proving their value in many natural disasters. After a disaster, they are very useful for rescue teams. By using high-resolution cameras, they can quickly determine a safe area suitable for use as a base of operations. The vantage point in the air allows rescuers to quickly assess the areas most severely hit by the disaster and determine the roads accessible to those in need. Traditionally, these tasks are done by rescuers on foot, which wastes precious time and manpower.