20 Minutes : Fires | "Super-drones" to the rescue of firefighters

Thursday, November 30 2017
In the Bouches-du-Rhône in the South of France, firefighters have become aware of the contribution of aerial unmanned drones in their interventions. Since 2014, three drones have been acquired by the fire soldiers of the department.

Published on 20 Minutes, November 2017.

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Far from the objects that would usually be found in store shelves, these high-performance paramilitary devices, costing around 15,000 euros, fulfill different missions.

Some, equipped with thermal cameras, make it possible to overfly a zone and estimate more precisely the sectors experiencing a recovery of the fire. Thus, facing a forest fire, these drones are currently used at the end of the intervention, during the monitoring and cleaning phases.

At the moment, it is impossible to use a drone at the beginning of a forest fire, for example to carry out a reconnaissance of the disaster area.

"The national doctrine says that from the moment that there is a fire, the goal is that it takes as little scope as possible," says Commander Rodriguez.

For this, we usually engage massive means quickly, including water bombers. The priority is to fight against emerging fires.

However, drones represent a risk of aircraft crash. A simple bird can create an accident, so imagine a drone! 

Despite this brake, the department's firefighters have planned the acquisition of six additional drones, used in particular for the recognition of buildings on the verge of collapse.

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