Drones and the emergency services

  • techUK techUK
    Wednesday12Sep 2018
    News

    Ahead of a free conference on how drones are being use by Blue Light services we look at how the emergency services are using them now and what is stopping others.

Drones have huge potential for the UK with the ‘drone economy’ potentially worth tens of billions if we get the policy and investment environment right. As emerged from our Drones Futures event earlier this year, the UK could lead the way in drone adoption and their role in supporting the vital work of the emergency services is the subject of a free conference we are holding on 9 November.

For the emergency services, drones offer some serious capability. Most obviously they are a cheaper and more rapid response alternative to helicopters, giving operational commanders better insight to best deploy resources. This flexibility can speed up search and rescue operations, limit the risk to staff, reduce costs and save lives. Right now, Lincolnshire Police, who spoke at our Drone Futures conference earlier in the year, are using drones to search for missing people, fighting rural crime, supporting local councils and managing traffic around large events. The Royal National Lifeboat Institution (RNLI) ran trials using drones in real life rescues and West Yorkshire Fire and Rescue have started using drones to evaluate fires and reduce risks to their personnel.

In the future, who knows how the user cases will develop, but concepts for drone ambulances are being worked on and as drone tech becomes smaller, they could become more ubiquitous among emergency responders (who could imagine 20 years ago each emergency service employee would have access to smartphones?).

So the benefits of using drones in the emergency services are vast, but how systematic and effective are they being used? The truth is that like other technologies, drone adoption in blue light services has been patchy. The localised nature of emergency services makes it very difficult to have a single approach to technology rollout. Some police and fire services have got great stories to tell, whilst others have with invested poorly (bought the machines but not understood it) or are only at the start of their drone journeys. So what are the barriers?

Money and resources are the obvious barriers, but leadership culture is a big one too. It needs to occur to emergency service leaders to use drones and make sure those on the ground have the confidence, understanding and skills to effectively deploy them and no what they offer. The need for collaboration with other services is essential to addressing these gaps as is having examples and real champions for drones across all the blue light services.

We will be discussing this at a free techUK conference Blue Light Drones: from niche to mainstream on 9 November. Click here to book your space .

  • Craig Melson

    Craig Melson

    Programme Manager | Digital Devices, Consumer Electronics, Export Controls and Environment and Compliance
    T 020 7331 2172
  • Julian McGougan

    Julian McGougan

    Executive Director | Telecoms, Spectrum & Satellite
    T 020 7331 2012
  • Henry Rex

    Henry Rex

    HEAD OF PUBLIC SECTOR | CENTRAL GOVERNMENT
    T 020 7331 2017

Share this

FROM SOCIAL MEDIA

In this blog our Craig Melson @techUK flicks through tonight’s TV guide on how connectivity changed our entertainme… https://t.co/rKd5zHMExN
Guest blog by Sean Gulliford @Gemserv highlights what is likely to be coming to a connected home near you in the ve… https://t.co/bqP0SbOle8
Following the recent release of techUK’s report, Collaboration for Public Safety Outcomes, this podcast explores th… https://t.co/ctKK9sa4rZ
Yesterday, techUK marked International Women in Engineering Day 2019 (@INWED1919) with this blog tackling the topic… https://t.co/pZJfb8qiBm
At our first Innovation Den profile we catch up with Seth Finegan, UK CEO, Informed Solutions @InformedTweet https://t.co/aKtnEo3X9m
Guest blog by Alina Bakhareva and Thomas Demetriades at @ELEXONUK provide an overview of several ongoing initiative… https://t.co/2Cf5x0oJV0
Working together to deliver smarter public services – join us at @Public_SectorUK (25 – 26 June, ExCeL London) and… https://t.co/6200FsnGUV
“The Past, Present and Future of Data” report by Dun & Bradstreet (@dnbukteam @DnBUS) published today has shone a l… https://t.co/u6aHlT0fxE
On Saturday 20 July, the first large scale AI conference in the North of England is taking place in Leeds. Find out… https://t.co/NGWcF4D0LX
Become a Member
×

Become a techUK Member

By becoming a techUK member we will help you grow through:

Click here to learn more...