High rise building fires, camp site fires, warehouse fires: they all present a significant risk for residents in the UAE and elsewhere in the world. High rise buildings are particularly challenging due to the height of those buildings. Fire fighters are limited in reaching affected areas quickly. Fire trucks equipped with ladders do not always have the required length to reach upper floors and scaling a burning building on foot presents its own challenges and risks. The first task of any dispatched crisis team, is to quickly obtain as much intel as possible in order to effectively and safely coordinate efforts of all rescue personnel. This too is restricted due to the physical challenges of high altitudes or remote areas such as desert camp sites.
Our idea is to equip drones with both remote controlled launch mechanisms and thermal cameras, in order to:
- propel various items into the danger zone, including special purpose fire extinguishing grenades; or surrogate drones to scan the surrounding and send crucial information to the command center
- provide more accurate information to the command center (people heat signatures. live video feeds, etc)
Conventional drone based fire fight solutions have always relied on the usage of water or liquids, heavily restricting both the payload and the flight time of the drones. Small water drops can do little to combat raging fire storms and the heat developed in building fires would require thousands of drones to drop small amounts of water simultaneously (and only from above). Attaching a water hose is not feasible due to the weight and violent instability of a highly pressurized water hose.
This is where fire grenades make a difference. These fire grenades are small, lightweight balls, that use the principal of heat triggered combustion to instantly deprive the fire of its oxygen. The force produced by the explosion is so small, it hardly causes any damage to the surroundings and thus ensures the safety of both people and the environment it is detonated in.
Using a drone mounted launching device, the operator uses a video equipped control unit, which enables him to safely propel fire grenades into the target zone. Depending on the size of the fire, the teams could dispatch several drone units at once, in order to combat larger fire zones. Squadrons of drones can be linked up and controlled by a single operator, thus reducing the number of required operators on site.
While conventional firefighting will still be required to combat large scale fires, these firefighting drones can help path a way for both people trapped inside the building and firefighters negotiating a path through the fire. Drones can be dispatched in seconds and any means to contain a fire, even for a short time, can make all the difference between life and death.
Mounting speaker systems to the drone could enable firefighters to directly communicate to people inside a building and guide them to a safe zone. Utilising the launching platform, other packages such as small first aid kits or breathing masks could be developed to quickly provide rescuees with the help they need.