From fire suppression to natural disaster response, for fire fighters it is essential to prioritise operations and interventions in order to manage the human and material resources available. In search of new technologies to assist their emergency response, in December 2015, the Seine-et-Marne Fire and Emergency Department contacted Parrot. The Bebop 2 met the needs identified in conventional theatres of operation: light and manoeuvrable, the device quickly obtains air imagery which is useful for making decisions in the field. Through the SDIS77 (Fire and Emergency Department 77), Commander Olivier Compta, responsible for the drone project, wanted to use drones more systematically to optimise different field initiatives. They would be one of first French Fire and Emergency Departments authorised to practise rapid and effective air inspections.
Towards the end of March 2016, heavy rain in the Paris region caused dangerous levels of flooding in several towns. On 2 June 2016, the flood peak was announced. On the same day, Parrot joined the firemen at flood locations with three pilots and more than 24 drones. In anticipation of the flood peak, the fire brigade foresaw the extra need for local aerial shots. Parrot contacted pilots Boris Schoene, Julien Raison and Jody Vandenschrick who joined the teams in the field for three days.
The identification of flooded locations is important in crisis management. Air shots monitored the gradual rise in water levels and made it possible to decide whether or not to launch an intervention, to rectify the flood recession forecasts and to deploy resources in the most relevant areas.
The most useful function was live video feedback. The fire brigade operational centre (CODIS) uses such videos in real time to anticipate situations. For this purpose, the teams had an instant video transmission module with the sending capacity of 8 SIM cards. Connected to the Skycontroller’s HDMI port, this live streaming solution was a key component of operational success.
Air shots offer an ideal solution for mapping locations. Today, two complementary solutions can be adopted in the field: a helicopter and a drone. While helicopters are essential in rescue missions – for transporting people and for general mapping covering long distances – it is preferable to use a drone for pure identification missions to optimise deployment times and costs. Manoeuvrable and responsive, drones are fit for that purpose. The distribution of several devices over several strategic areas offers precise air coverage, which is all the more effective as it is paired with real-time video feedback.