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USA: Drones are changing emergency response in this Pacific Northwest city

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In this comprehensive discussion on the integration of autonomous aerial systems (UAS) into urban emergency response mechanisms, we explore the transformative potential of drone technology in enhancing city safety. Highlighting case studies from cities like Bellevue and Washington, we delve into the practical applications of drones equipped with infrared sensors, live video streaming, and thermal imaging for swift and effective crisis management. Emphasizing the words of Bellevue Councilman Conrad Lee, we recognize the importance of embracing novel technologies to bolster public safety initiatives. Throughout, we underscore the necessity of community engagement and transparent communication in addressing privacy concerns surrounding drone usage. From optimizing emergency services to aiding in natural disaster response, the versatility of UAS drones is showcased, illustrating their potential to revolutionize urban governance. As we navigate the evolving landscape of smart city innovation, we advocate for collaborative efforts between government entities, technology providers, and residents to ensure responsible and effective integration of drone technology into city policies and practices.

Esmael Ansari, MPA on LinkedIn: Revolutionizing Public Safety: A Deep Dive  into First Responder Drones

Transforming Urban Emergency Response with Autonomous Aerial Systems and Infrared Sensor Technology

A 60-second emergency response to a house fire, flood, or car accident may seem like the stuff of dreams to some city leaders. The deal becomes actually sweeter when you include the ability to gather video, data, or a map of the scene. 

With the aid of autonomous aerial systems, or UAS, cities like Bellevue and Washington are working toward that goal. The city has been piloting emergency drone services for the past few years using BRINC Drones-powered equipment that offers infrared sensors, life video streaming, and flying night and day vision.

Governments are” not typically risk takers,” Bellevue Councilman Conrad Lee stated on January 23 during a drone panel at the National League of Cities. However, Lee claimed that implementing novel technologies can have a significant positive impact on improving city safety.

Before we have to send in one of our officers, Esmael Ansari, vice president of government relations for BRINC, said,” It’s much better to throw that drone, that piece of technology, into an unfamiliar potentially harmful situation.”

Expanding the Role of Drone Technology in Urban Emergency Response and Beyond

The drones have been used by Bellevue to deploy crowd safety measures at an Independence Day event, along with a SWAT team and on-the-ground bike patrol. The police force even used thermal imaging from drones to find someone who was evading capture.

According to Lee, the police would have previously used helicopter patrol, which is more costly and disruptive to the neighborhood. Lee continued by saying that the city’s emergency response teams have used drones to immediately record car crash scenes for court testimony and as a tool for police officers to inspect buildings before responding to 911 calls.

The drones were created with emergency services in mind, but according to BRINC CEO Blake Resnick, they can be used for more purposes. Lee talked about how the city might use UAS drones to examine large structures or trees, help with snow rescues, or deal with other natural disasters.

As a government, we must provide the fundamental services, but these initiatives complement what we already provide and serve the public little better, according to Lee.

Navigating Community Engagement in the Integration of Drone Technology for Public Safety

According to Don Redmond, vice president of sophisticated public safety projects for the BRINC, privacy concerns are frequently on people’s minds. City leaders should prioritize community involvement and open communication regarding planned drone use in order to allay concerns.

Residents frequently recognize the value once they learn how much information can be gathered, according to Redmond, such as how drones can tell EMS which room a house fire started in or alert them if someone is stuck in scuffled vehicles.

Redmond continued by saying that as technology advances and drones gain more capabilities, resident input should be taken into city policies. For instance, in the future, intelligent, open policies should be developed as a result of public discussion about applications of visual recognition capabilities or license plate data capturing.

Leo Portal

Leo is an expert in the field of smart city research and an overall tech-enthusiast with an emphasis on smart energy, IOT, smart homes and governance. After a master degree in international administration at the University of Gothenburg in Sweden, and a master in public management at Fudan University in China, he pursued research studies in the field of smart cities at the European University Institute. This led him to publish multiple articles on smart cities. Among them “Using Smart People to Build Smarter: How Smart Cities Attract and Retain Highly Skilled Workers to Drive Innovation (Belgium, Denmark, the Netherlands, Poland)” published in the Smart Cities and Regional Development Journal (SCRD) and “Establishing Participative Smart Cities: Theory and Practice”, also published in the SCRD Journal. He regularly audits and advises municipalities and regional governments on their smart city strategies. He is currently writing a chapter for Springer on smart mobility in French smart cities.

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