It is no secret that the military has been using drones for some time for tasks ranging from surveillance to dropping remote payloads and hobbyists have been flying drones for some time, but commercial uses for drones have been slow in taking hold. While drones being used to deliver packages for Amazon may still be a long way off, drones have already firmly estblished themselves as a viable tool in the world of film and video. The real estate industry has also benefitted significantly from the use of drones. The next wave of drone use may be coming to the field of first responders.
It doesn't take a sharp analytical mind to understand how drones could significantly aid first responders and even the citizens first responders are tasked with aiding and protecting. From fire fighters to police and emergency services, the ways in which drones could provide significant aid is almost limitless. From sending in drones to explore potential gas leaks to utilizing drones to determine where criminals may be hiding and what weapons they may be using, drones may offer a significant advantage to first responders that may even save lives and lower costs.
The lives of first reponders themselves are also not the only lives that can potentially be saved through the use of drones. A USA Today study several years ago discovered that out of the quarter of a million cardiac arrests that end in a fatality every year, almost half of them could have been prevented by being defibrillated within 6 minutes. Following that study, portable defibrillators began popping up in a number of public venues other than hospitals, but there is still more to be done. Soon after that study was released an Austrian graduate student began working on a drone that could be dispatched to provide emergency defibrillation faster than emergency personnel could respond and arrive.
At the moment, a small number of drones are being tested by individual fire and police forces around the globe to accomplish a number of different tasks ranging from finding missing people to getting an eye-in-the-sky view of fires and other natural disasters. While the uses for drones in emergency situations is almost limitless, one of the obstacles to getting them into use is the never-ending battle between the people that actually use the equipment and the people tasked with budgeting for it. As more and more individual fire, police and rescue services find more and more applications for drones, their use will most likely become more and more wide spread.
Public services will also benefit from the growing number of commercial applications being found for drones as well. As the market for drones increases and their usage becomes more widespread, it will drive the price of drones lower as well. As it stands, drones suitable for commercial and rescue use can run anywhere from several thousands of dollars to tens of thousands of dollars. Considering how easily they can crash, become damaged or even lost, it is no surprise that taxpayers and local government officials are not eager to invest heavily in them just yet. At some point in time, however, the proven benefits will begin to outweigh the costs and it is highly likely that they will become a standard piece of equipment in public service and rescue work.