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Drones & Emergency First Responders: Final report of EENA/DJI Pilot Test Project Available

Date: 2016-11-21
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Remotely Piloted Aircraft Systems (RPAS), or drones, have created significant opportunities for emergency first responders, as well as important challenges. As a response to the adoption of RPAS by emergency services, in 2015 the European Emergency Number Association (EENA) created a working group on drones that was quickly embraced by the emergency services community and became a network of 125 members. EENA has announced that the final report of the EENA/DJI Pilot Test Program is now available.

In April 2016, EENA and drone manufacturer DJI entered into a partnership for an in-depth analysis of how emergency services use drone technology with the aim to identify best practices in terms of operational, technical, safety, privacy and legal issues. Four pilot sites were selected for the project, whose teams used RPAS for several months in a variety of operational scenarios.

Selected pilot sites: Mid and West Wales Fire and Rescue Service (UK), Donegal Mountain Rescue Team (Ireland), Greater Copenhagen Fire Department (Denmark) and Reykjavik SAR Team (Iceland).

"EENA would encourage all emergency services to evaluate the benefit of RPAS for themselves and we remain available to support them wherever possible," said EENA’s Tony O'Brien.

The key challenges below were identified at an early stage and the participants were challenged to identify best practices over the course of the project:

  • Integration of RPAS in Standard Operating Procedure
  • Training of teams on the use of RPAS
  • Hardware needs and maintenance
  • Logistics
  • External framework for RPAS use

"What we have realized is that a drone has evolved from being a flying device to a data collection device, reported DJI’s Romeo Durscher. "Through that it has become a decision making tool, with applications beyond just locating a missing person or getting a simple bird’s eye view."

While the report was created by and for European response agencies, it's conclusions will like be very much of interest to North American emergency response agencies as well.

The Report is available for download from EENA here

More information:
DJI and EENA will continue to search for best practices and concrete practical improvements for how the technology adds value. We welcome feedback and look forward to keeping a close dialogue with the community. Please feel free to contact us through EENA’s website (http://www.eena.org) or through http://citizenship.dji.com/ .

- People, Places & Things/9-1-1magazine.com (via EENA, 11/15/16)

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