Are drones the new life-saver?

When thinking about how drones are most commonly used, the majority of people would probably first think about aerial photography or perhaps they may consider how they are being used in the construction or surveyor industries.

However, with ever-increasing usage of drones in our everyday lives, we are starting to see much more innovative and practical ways in how people are now benefitting from their use.

Below we take a look at some of the health and safety benefits of using drones.

1. A replacement for fireworks

The use of fireworks has always been subject to criticism, largely due to concerns about firework-related pollution, associated environmental damage and the distress caused to animals.

It’s perhaps no surprise then that we have started to see drone displays gaining in popularity over the last couple of years. From the opening ceremony of the Tokyo Olympics in 2021 to the more recent coverage of the Queen’s Platinum Jubilee celebrations, drone shows have been used to create magical, awe-inspiring and occasionally corgi-shaped scenes in our skies.

And long may it continue. After all, we encourage anything that positively promotes the drone industry, keeps the general public safe and most important of all, doesn’t scare our beloved four-legged friends!

2. Finding lost dogs

And whilst we’re on the subject of our furry friends, did you know there is a group named ‘Drone SAR for Lost Dogs UK’ who co-ordinate volunteer pilots and ground searchers to help reunite lost dogs with their owners? You can find out more about the group here.

3. Delivering chemotherapy drugs to remote locations

You may have seen that the NHS recently announced the trial of drones as a more efficient way of transporting chemotherapy drugs to the Isle of Wight.

Typically, it could take up to four hours to deliver the vital medicines from Portsmouth hospital and would involve two car journeys and one hovercraft or ferry journey per delivery to the island. With the use of drones, they anticipate the journey time could be reduced to as little as 30 minutes.

We wait to hear the results of the trial over the next few months. It’ll certainly be interesting to see if the use of drones supports the Government’s ultimate aim of providing quicker, fairer access to treatment, no matter where in the UK you live.

4. Observing wildlife from a safe distance

We’ve probably all heard the term ‘bear hug’ before. Whilst bears may look cute and cuddly, we wouldn’t recommend getting too close to one if you can avoid it – and we definitely wouldn’t recommend ever trying to give one a hug!

Those working in the conservation field though will need to closely observe endangered and threatened species. The use of drones allows them to keep an eye on the wildlife from a safe distance, protecting human life and leaving the animals undisturbed.   

5. Surveying dangerous areas

From monitoring active and dangerous volcanoes and assessing the aftermath of earthquakes to even detecting land mines on the ground from a safe distance using attached infrared cameras, drones are now commonly used as a low-risk method to survey the most dangerous of areas in the world.

6. Ambulance drones

We all know the first few minutes are crucial in an emergency situation, and healthcare providers are also using drones to accelerate the delivery of essential care and supplies.

When considering the benefits in this scenario, let’s use the example of someone who is suffering from a cardiac arrest. According to the British Heart Foundation, there are around 7.6 million people living in the UK today with heart and circulatory diseases, resulting in more than 160,000 deaths each year. To put that into perspective, that’s equivalent to one death in the UK every three minutes!

The reality is a sudden cardiac arrest can happen to anyone at any time but having quick access to an Automated External Defibrillator (AED), a device that can analyse the heart’s rhythm and, if necessary, deliver an electric shock to start the heart going again, can really save lives.

In fact, it’s believed for every minute it takes for a defibrillator to reach someone, a person’s chances of survival will reduce, so it makes sense that drones are used to quickly get them to where they are needed.

7. Window cleaning

Drones are now even used to wash the windows of tall glass-fronted commercial buildings, allowing cleaning of hard-to-reach facades safely.

8. Inspecting wind turbines

Did you know there is reportedly over 300,000 wind turbines in the world, each playing their part to generate renewal energy? Typically, a wind turbine stands at an impressive 260 feet tall and as you would expect, is likely to be found in areas largely exposed to the wind, such as on the top of large hills or out to sea.

Perhaps unsurprisingly then, drones are now also being used to inspect wind turbines. Using drones is proven to be easier logistically to carry out as inspection, more economical and has the added benefit of reducing the risk of human injury.