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Emergency Response departments are adopting UAVs to help save lives. The Canadian Halifax Regional Fire & Emergency (HRFE) has recently recruited two thermal imaging drones to their inventory.

Fighting fires is not the only thing the drones will be used for, as they will also help in surveying scenes, determining if buildings are structurally sound before sending in firefighters and identifying hotspots or unidentified products, looking for radiation for example, when teams’ direct involvement might endanger them.

The drones are also certified to fly at night, when helicopters can not assist. Both drones are certified to fly only at a maximum distance of 250m, and are already programmed not to fly near Halifax’s airport.

Training is provided by Aerovision Canada, a UAV operator specializing in ultra-high definition aerial photography and videography for inspection, mapping, 3D modeling, thermal imaging and more. 20 firefighters have been undergoing an intense, hands-on 5 day training, according to a report.

Halifax’s Fire Department is not the first, and certainly won’t be the last, to try and implement the technology to work on a daily-basis. Not long ago, Lockheed Martin announced that for the first time, its suite of optionally-piloted helicopters and small unmanned aerial systems would work together for a firefighting and lifesaving demonstration. The Nova Scotia Royal Canadian Mounted Police (RCMP) already had 5 drones, back in 2014, to fight crime and search missions.

Even the International Fire Chiefs Association (IAFC), a worldwide network of more than 11,000 fire chiefs and emergency officers, has created “The Unmanned Aerial Systems (UAS) Toolkit”, a platform pointed at All-Hazards, All-Risk response leaders.

“The Unmanned Aerial Systems (UAS) Toolkit” was created to evaluate the current state of UAS policy, procedures, tactics and technology as they impact the fire and emergency service, and provide leadership and subject matter experts for fire and EMS departments interested in implementing a UAS program.