Drones are critical for handling emergencies

By Rabih Bou Rached

DUBAI 9 February 2019: What makes a successful smart city? The idea of a smart city entails a synergy of various technologies that are deployed to transform cities or particular areas into more connected and safer environments to live and work.

Technically that means that by using actual devices and sensors city can optimize the performance of city operations and services.

Smart Dubai is the most successful smart city concept in the Middle East to date and it continues to evolve every day. While there are multiple elements to this concept, number one objective of Dubai’s government will remain to make this city the happiest place on earth where the quality of life and public safety will be remain government’s top priority. Public safety is being constantly enhanced and Dubai is actively introducing new technologies, solutions, and campaigns to enhance emergency response.

Rabih Bou Rached

Last year the Dubai Police launched Android Emergency Location Service (ELS) that provides accurate location information to first responders during an emergency. The location is transmitted when an Android smartphone user contacts the emergency number. The same year, Dubai Corporation for Ambulance Services has launched ESEFNI (‘Help Me’ from Arabic) application that is designed to reduce the response time to emergencies. World’s first rescue drone called Flying Rescuer entered UAE airspace in 2018 allowing Dubai beach-goers feel safer.

Flying Rescuer

While Dubai government is taking various steps to improve its emergency services that play an instrumental role is the betterment of the smart city environment, further introduction of the unmanned aerial vehicles (UAV), or drones which is widely known the term to the public, is paramount. There are several ways drones can help save lives and sooner these options are explored by the federal governments as well as private entities that operate within hazardous environments, faster smart cities like Dubai will reach their full maturity.

Search and rescue missions will probably top up the list of drones’ emergency service applications today. From lost hikers wondering in the heart of Hatta’s picturesque valleys to kayakers who have drifted due to the rough winter sea breeze, drones can be deployed to speed up the process where helicopters and night vision goggles fail to do the job.

Drones can significantly improve fire extinguishing process as they already have a better ability than the naked eye to detect wildfires and high-rise flames, similar to ones we often experience in Dubai during windy winter weather periods. While drones are great tools for scene monitoring, rapid 360 degrees assessment of burning structures and the ability to see through smoke with thermal imaging cameras, their active participation in the fire extinguishing process is what makes an enormous difference.

Last but not least, ambulance drones can respond and deliver emergency equipment faster than any ground modes of transportation. In 2017 Dubai Ambulance piloted its first world’s fastest cargo drone that will be delivering an automated heart defibrillator to a heart-attack victim in Dubai parks, beaches or public areas at speeds of up to 155 kph.

Dubai is getting smarter and safer every day and technology will remain just one element of its growing success.

Note: The author is Managing Director at Falcon Eye Drones

Dubai Gazette