South Manati County Fire Brigade uses UAV to participate in dangerous material Rescue

Date: 2019-07-24
Hits: 1404

In May 2017, a sudden explosion came from the Karahan Tire Factory warehouse in Florida. 

Then, within 10 minutes, the whole building was engulfed. The 4,000 tires next to the building were also on fire. Worse, the fire spread rapidly in the wind's way, and the burning of the tire caused a number of miles of black smoke.

The fire had quickly been upgraded from a three-level fire to a five-level fire, following the arrival of the fire brigade at the south of the local marina county.

In the first time of the South Manner fire brigade, the unmanned aerial vehicle was sent to carry out the investigation on the site. They have to be careful because the tire is likely to reburn, and the chemicals in the tire are likely to enter the water, contaminating the rain system and causing secondary disasters.

Through the UAVs, we accurately judge the development of a school in the vicinity of the plume, "the captain recalls. In a few minutes, we successfully contacted the school, and let them close the doors and windows and safeguard the safety of the teachers and students."

It sounds like a movie plot, but in fact it's an emergency that fire brigades often have to deal with. In addition to the smoke fires as we know them, there are many challenges facing the fire brigade. Critical situations such as hazardous materials, dangerous chemicals, dangerous organisms, radiation crises, nuclear pollution and explosions (CBRNE) require urgent response from the fire brigade.

These crises also occur more frequently than expected. A total of 16873 hazardous material emergencies were recorded in the United States in 2017, or an average of 46 per day, according to the Department of Transportation's dangerous material Information report.


When a dangerous material emergency occurs, the first task of the fire brigade is to use the appropriate instruments to obtain accurate information at the first time in order to try its best to solve the crisis and ensure its own safety.

In the event, the South Manner Fire Brigade (SMFR) in Manati County, Fla., chose to use the DJI DJI UAVs. The first team to reach the disaster site will be able to use the UAVs immediately after the training. Before entering an unknown disaster area, the fireman first uses the unmanned aerial vehicle to carry the detection equipment, acquires the real-time information of the disaster field, and takes the lead in evaluating and judging the crisis.

"in a few minutes, we can master the disaster, determine the type of disaster, know if there are explosives or toxic chemicals, and decide where to start the rescue."

Chris Gould, co-ordinator of the Dangerous Materials Treatment Group, Manner County, South Manati. In another dangerous material disaster, he led the fire department to use the warp and weft M210 UAVs and was equipped with a Zen XT2 thermal sensing camera and a Zen Z30 zoom camera. Captain Chris Gould says the technology of UAVs has the following advantages in dealing with hazardous material disasters:


Captain of South Manati Fire Department and Coordinator of Hazardous Material Handling Team. 

Shorten rescue time

The dangerous materials handling team of the South Manati Fire Brigade found that it takes hours to search for rescue using traditional methods, while it takes only a few minutes for trained flying hands to operate drones. Since each oxygen supply lasts only 30 minutes, pioneers spend 20 minutes on the round trip, with only 10 minutes available for data collection and search and rescue of trapped people. In order to complete the search and rescue mission, firefighters need to travel to and from the affected areas and locations many times, which not only wastes valuable time, but also threatens the safety of the team members.

The UAV can act as a pioneer role, take the lead in entering the disaster area, provide a top view of the whole disaster site, and provide air drop tools in the designated area, so that the team can enter and use it. The UAV can shorten the rescue operation for 2-3 hours, and make more life for the victims. 

to take full control of the disaster

By using drones at the scene of a disaster, firefighters can characterize a disaster, confirm or deny undetermined information, and formulate rescue measures as accurately as possible.

"We hope that drones are not only 'eyes in the air', but also undertake other aspects of work, such as detection, qualitative disasters, measurement and remote sensing," said Rich Gatanis, UAV coordinator for the South Manati Fire Brigade.


Rich Gatanis

UAV Coordinator, South Manati Fire Brigade

Through a series of training, the Hazardous Material Handling Team of the NanMANATI Fire Brigade found that the latest Zen XT2 and Z30 cameras along the longitude and latitude M210 can not only provide more accurate information, but also assist the fire brigade in making intelligent decisions by means of new intelligent functions.


Meditation XT2 uses MSX technology to combine visible light with thermal imaging to provide richer details, such as the oil tank text and logo identified in the figure above. MSX technology enables firefighters to better identify the substances in the tank and make it easier to locate missing persons.


In addition, UAV can also be used for safety monitoring. After firefighters enter the scene, drones can observe subtle changes in the disaster site to avoid any secondary disasters. Images taken by drones can be transmitted to mobile devices or mobile command vehicles in real time, allowing the commander to see the scene at a glance.


In the event of an emergency that fails to be effectively controlled after the first leakage of factory chemicals, the safety monitoring function can also help the fire brigade and plant managers quickly work together to develop the next control plan. At the same time, the field commander can also take advantage of the security monitoring function:

continuously observing the visible light and the thermal imaging change of the plume;

the pollution condition of the harmful substances to the surrounding environment is clearly observed;

Identify the areas around the site that need to be closed and controlled;

Dispatch the necessary medical team;

Remind surrounding residents to avoid danger in safe places through 911. 

improve efficiency and reduce cost

Using drone technology, the entire rescue operation can be shortened by 1 / 2 hours, greatly improving the efficiency of the fire brigade. In addition, due to the high price of disposable hazardous material protective clothing, which costs as much as $2000 a set, the addition of drone technology can also significantly reduce the cost of fire work.

The fire brigade also uses drones to assist public safety agencies in the county to ensure that firefighters can safely and quickly carry out rescue after the disaster breaks out.

UAV coordinator Rich Gatanis said: "the original intention of using drones is to hope that hazardous materials rescue operations will be safer. At first, a variety of solutions were proposed, including the use of robots and so on. After research, we believe that the drone scheme is the most economical and efficient. "


Build an unmanned aerial vehicle ecosystem and explore more possibilities

The South Manner fire brigade is actively planning, combining the advanced unmanned aerial vehicle technology of DJI and the actual operation of FlyMotion, and the man-machine technology is integrated into the work flow of the fire brigade.

"By using the unmanned aerial vehicle to quickly collect the key data, the personal safety of the firemen is greatly ensured, and the rescue work of the fire brigade is very beneficial. When the UAVs are in place, I've been trying to get the drone's gas, radiation, and chemical detectors into the scene," Rich Gatanis.

In addition to the current application direction, the South Manner fire brigade has also used the cloud whistle system of the Great Xinjiang to ensure the safety of the airspace in the rescue operation, and continuously explore the future picture of the dangerous material rescue and the unmanned aerial vehicle technology.

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