EENA, DJI Expand Research into Drones for Public Safety
Friday, May 11, 2018 | Comments

The European Emergency Number Association (EENA), and DJI, a civilian drones and aerial imaging technology firm, are extending their research partnership to further integrate drones into rescue operations.

At EENA’s annual 1-1-2 awards ceremony in Ljubljana, Slovenia, the Dalvik search-and-rescue team from Iceland received the outstanding tech for safety award, honoring the team’s rescue of two cousins stranded on the side of a mountain. The Dalvik team piloted a drone toward the light of one of the stranded hiker’s phone, then guided a rescue team through difficult terrain and poor visibility to save the hikers.

EENA and DJI began collaborating two years ago to study how public-safety agencies can use drones in their work, studying their needs and developing hardware and software solutions to serve them. The groups will now research the proper framework for agencies to integrate drones into their existing command protocols and deploy them for maximum effectiveness.

“DJI’s partnership with EENA has allowed us to study and document how drone technology helps rescue services reduce the time, risk and cost inherent in their dangerous work,” said Romeo Durscher, DJI director of public-safety integration. “By responding faster, operating more efficiently and keeping emergency workers safer, drones have the potential to become standard equipment in emergency response. As DJI and EENA continue developing protocols to bring these benefits to emergency workers, it is gratifying to know our work will help ensure drones can save taxpayer money, reduce operational risks and save more lives.”

In a keynote address at the conference, Durscher explored how developers are creating special tools tailored to rescuer needs, such as augmented-reality overlays and aerial searchlights. Agencies have pioneered ways for drones to provide valuable information both before and after incidents.

The next phase of the EENA and DJI collaboration will use real-world testing of drones to guide the creation of Europewide emergency service standards for using drones, training pilots and operating within a legal framework. The project will deliver clear tactical recommendations for using drones, as well as recommendations to lawmakers, regulators and training bodies about how to consider drone use.

The Donegal Mountain Rescue Team in Ireland and the Mid and West Wales Fire and Rescue Service in the United Kingdom will serve as testing grounds for this next phase of the study, offering a variety of firefighting and search and rescue scenarios across cities, high mountains, coastal waters and other challenging terrain.

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