Aerial Thermal Imaging in an Emergency

June 9

Drone technology has evolved rapidly in recent years, with modern equipment now being used for everything from aerial photography and mapping to complex surveying tasks.

The versatility of drones makes them ideal for most applications. Commercial drones can be fitted with a variety of imaging technologies to suit the task at hand. One of the most important applications of modern drones is their use in emergencies.

Thanks to thermal imaging technology, drones are now being used to support first responders and help them manage ongoing emergency situations. In this article, we want to explore how and why aerial thermal imaging is being used in emergencies.


How Aerial Thermal Imaging Used in Emergencies

First responders face the tough task of responding to a range of emergencies daily. These situations often ask them to locate and rescue people in dangerous conditions. Aerial thermal imaging technology is increasingly being used to reduce the risk to first responders, directing search efforts and locating missing or trapped people.

Aerial thermal imaging drones find use during a range of minor and major emergencies, including:

  1. Floods. One of Australia’s most common emergencies, floodwaters rise quickly and have the potential to sweep entire houses away in the blink of an eye. As Brisbane’s most recent bout of flooding has shown, navigating floodwater remains a dangerous task that makes it difficult to provide help to people who become trapped in their cars and homes. Aerial thermal imaging drones can not only traverse flood-affected areas safely, they can find people who need help and provide direction to SES, first responders and other rescue teams.

  2. Fires. Bushfires sweep the country each summer. Luckily, with advance warning, most people can escape a fire’s path unharmed. However, locating and rescuing people who become trapped by fires is both difficult and dangerous. Drones are ideal for searching building sites or areas affected by fire. Their thermal imaging cameras are capable of seeing humans through dense smoke, all while the drone is operated at a safe distance from the fire.

  3. Earthquakes. Earthquakes can be devastating. The collapse of large buildings or whole neighbourhoods requires an immediate response. But finding and rescuing survivors is a challenge. Not only can an aerial response team use thermal imaging to spot survivors among the wreckage, drone footage can be used to direct rescue teams and find safe paths through unstable or dangerous rubble.

  4. Search and Rescue. Time and speed are of the essence for all search and rescue missions. Whether bushwalkers have become lost in the outback, or a fisherman has gone overboard at sea, aerial thermal imaging can support rescue efforts. Capable of detecting people in all environments, thermal imaging drones can quickly traverse difficult terrain to locate lost, trapped and injured people. For the most critical operations, drones can even use their thermal imaging technology to locate people through foliage, smoke and darkness.


Why Are Aerial Emergency Response Drones Used?

Using drones in an emergency is an effective way of assessing the situation, finding people who need help and protecting first responders from danger. Aerial thermal imaging can save human effort where it’s needed most and offer a huge range of benefits to emergency response. Aerial thermal imaging drones can:

  • Rapidly respond and be deployed to the site of emergencies
  • Rapidly retrieve detailed footage and other data
  • Provide ongoing search and surveillance of an area
  • Deliver emergency supplies to trapped people
  • Quickly traverse and scan large areas
  • Access terrain that would be difficult or dangerous for ground teams
  • Find safe routes and direct first responders through dangerous areas


Respond to Emergencies with Aerial Thermal Imaging With Toll Uncrewed Systems

Emergencies can happen at any time with little warning. Our thermal imaging services can be deployed and retrieved rapidly, supporting all first responders in their efforts.

Whether you are dealing with floods, fires or other emergencies, our CASA licensed operators can be there to offer detailed thermal imaging data and help plan a drone emergency response. For more information on our aerial thermal imaging services or even our crop spraying drones, you can contact us today.


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UAV Training Australia and Advanced Aerial Solutions have merged as Toll Uncrewed Systems