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3 Industries Transformed by Drones: Part 1 – Public Safety

Last updated on

August 20, 2021


    Are drones changing the world?


    What industries are being changed by drones?

    Well, in one way or another, most industries are being changed by drones.

    Through this three part blog series we will be discussing how drones are truly unleashing new found potential for efficient workflows in the fields of Public Safety, Surveying & Inspection.

    But let’s start with what you came for…

    How it started

    In 2007 West Midlands Fire became the first emergency service in the United Kingdom to use Unmanned Aerial Vehicles (UAVs) operationally, with the aim of tackling fires and saving lives in as little time as possible.

    Little did they know that they would become the first in a long line of Public Safety organisations to adopt drone technology. The tech began to revolutionise the emergency services and other Category 1 responders, becoming a staple part of their equipment used to carry out day-to-day operations.

    By 2015, the first large scale police force – Devon & Cornwall Police – teamed up with Dorset Police to create the Alliance Drone Team. Due to their innovative approach to policing, the team were nominated as finalists in the World Class Policing Awards 2019.

    Credit // DJI

    As of 2019, the Alliance Drone Team have effectively managed operations over almost 5,000 square miles. The team has successfully integrated UAS into the emergency services environment, supporting law enforcement for missing persons searches, major events and firearms incidents.

    In November 2020, 40 of the 43 national police forces and over 2/3 fire services have now adopted drone technology, with over 288 drones operational across the police forces alone.

    Interested in drones but don’t know where to start? Don’t worry!

    We’ve created a full-fledged guide on drones for Public Safety… and its completely FREE!


    How are drones being used to protect the public?

    With the drone industry forever evolving, operator capabilities are advancing at a substantial rate. While many people think that drones are being used instead of traditional methods, it is actually quite the opposite.

    We have aided over 75% of organisations in the public safety sector incorporate drones into their workflows, thereby helping them to optimise their output.

    Below we have listed some of the key roles drones can play within each field:


    Police forces are always evolving in the methods that they use to tackle crime. As criminals get smarter, the police must stay one step ahead.

    That’s where drones come in.

    By combining high definitions RGB cameras with thermal cameras, police forces are near limitless in the conditions that they can operate.

    With many drones being extremely transportable, the technology can sit in the boot of a police car and be launchable in 1-2 minutes. Drones have already been able to reduce costs for the police for by providing the same results as police helicopters would, for a fraction of the operating costs.

    This also means that manned police helicopters are able to remain available for other missions which require transport or longer term searches.

    By using drones, operators are able to venture into conditions that may not be easily accessible for on the ground officers, thus far reducing risk of life.

    Some of the use cases for drones in policing are:

    • Incident Reporting – Reduce the amount of time on site and increase accuracy by creating a 3D map of the site (To scale within 1cm)
    • Production of Evidence – With an Eye-in-the-Sky, capture footage of an incident as it unfolds
    • Detecting Criminal Activity – Locate a suspicious activity using thermal imaging i.e. Cannabis Farms

    For fire services, time is everything.

    Drones are able to provide a safe overview of a fire/area. By doing this, it allows the crew to make critical decisions faster and more reliably.

    “It gives you the whole picture so when you go to an incident with drones we can actually do a 360 observation and stay in a safe place… it’s putting the drone up instead of having to put the firefighters in there.”

    Steve Richards – Station Manager, Mid & West Wales Fire Service

    Aerial Structural Fire.jpg

    Credit // FLiR

    Some use cases for drones in the fire service are:

    • Route Planning – Understand the structure of the fire, allowing you to plan safer routes in real-time
    • Establishing Life – Find out whether there are any people are in the building or surrounding area and deploy your teams quickly and efficiently
    • Environmental EvaluationEstablish unsafe or hazardous environments without compromising the safety of staff or equipment
    Military & Defence

    Unmanned aerial vehicles have a rich history within the Defence sector, with the first UAV’s being trialled all the way back in March 1917.

    At the turn of the century, the focus turned more closely to how smaller UAVs could be used to benefit the military. Since 2014, the US military has increased its spending on drone technology from $4 billion to $9 billion annually.

    Now in 2021, the military are able to use drones effectively to reduce risk and thereby save lives.

    An example of specific military drone technology is the Typhon DS-100 payload, a non-lethal distraction payload.

    But what are some of the use cases for drones in the military?

    Search & Rescue

    When a missing person is reported, responders need information and real-time imagery in order to make accurate decisions and save time.

    Not only can UAVs be used to provide situational awareness over a large area, but they can also provide an evaluation of the terrain that the team will be entering using mapping software.

    By using drone technology, missions can take be completed in over half the time.

    Some of the use cases for drones in Search and Rescue are:

    • Search & Rescue – Cover the ground within your perimeter search in minutes rather than hours, helping you find your target in less time
    • Beacon – Use your drone to as a beacon to guide boots on the ground troops to target
    • Illumination – Light up your scene to treat the target on site using the DJI Mavic 2 Enterprise Advanced spotlight attached (viewable from 100+ above)

    How can Coptrz help?

    Coptrz are the only providers of true 360 degree drone solutions in the UK. We are completely brand agnostic, meaning you will always have expert advice with no bias towards brands.

    With Coptrz Academy, you will gain continuous support through our online portal, which you will have lifetime access to once completing the course.

    We also have a Facebook community of over 1,400 pilots, where Coptrz alumni can network, stay up to date with CAA legislations, and share their work, pictures and videos!

    For more information on how drones can aid your organisation, or any of your drone training needs, get in contact with our business development manager Sam Denniff today!




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