Two Polish tourists caught on the side of an Icelandic mountain with the sun going down have ignited a new drone search and rescue program that has seen DJI partner with the European Emergency Number Association (EENA). In doing so, the collaboration has resulted in the creation of a public safety whitepaper that will be instrumental in emergency services improving their crisis response strategies.
Iceland is without a doubt one of the top bucket list locations for many drone photographers but can be a dangerous place to be lost in. Realising they were possibly facing a night of freezing conditions, the tourists were prompted to call the local emergency number, 112. However the rescuers were unable to pinpoint the exact location of the people using GPS.
Members of the rescue team, Dalvik SAR, had the idea to use a DJI Phantom in a effort to find the pair. With the sky darkening and the temperature dropping, it was imperative that the team respond quickly.
Using the drone they were not only able to locate the tourists. Travelling by boat to get closer to the location of the lost tourists, a member of the rescue team was able to further assist by monitoring the SAR team members to find the best route to descend the mountain.
This amazing rescue has now been documented in a video showcasing the potential of drones in search and rescue in the DJI Stories series, and the Dalvik SAR team honoured at EENA’s annual 112 Awards ceremony in Ljubljana, Slovenia with the Outstanding Tech for Safety Award.
The successful conclusion of this incident has prompted civilian drone and aerial imaging tech leader DJI and Brussels-based EENA to celebrate the role of drones in complex search and rescue missions. At the start of the EENA Conference 2018 today, they have announced the extension of a two year strong research partnership with which they intend to better integrate UAVs into rescue protocols for emergency services.
In a video announcing the collaboration, Gearoid O’Briain of Ireland’s UAV search and rescue company Dronesar, explained how a connection with Romeo Durscher – DJI’s Director of Public Safety Integration – saw them get involved. “The first step in that was with the white paper that DJI and EENA brought out in the use of drones in Search and Rescue,” he said.
By working with public safety agencies such as Dronesar and the Greater Copenhagen Fire Department, DJI and EENA are able to develop software and hardware solutions to meet the needs of the agencies.
“It has been an extremely successful project where we tested a series of technologies and produced an amazing final report which has been used all over the world as a reference document for the use of drones for public safety,” explained Gary Machado, EENA Executive Director.
I am incredibly proud to see how far we have come, bringing extraordinary results which help save lives of ordinary citizens. Drone technology is one way we can enhance the capabilities of rescue services and keep citizens safer. Click To Tweet
Durscher commented on the benefits of the DJI-EENA partnership, saying, “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.”
Durscher spoke at a keynote address at the conference, exploring the rapid innovation by public safety agencies who are finding new uses for drones.
To address the requirements of the agencies, who are providing valuable insights prior and after rescue missions, DJI’s developers have created new augmented-reality overlays and aerial searchlights.
EENA and DJI’s next step is to take their search and rescue operating guidelines into the real-world for testing, and to guide the creation of European-wide emergency service standards for using drones, training pilots, and operating within a legal framework.
This next phase will bring on board the Donegal Mountain Rescue Team in Ireland and the Mid and West Wales Fire and Rescue Service in the UK. These locations will serve as testing grounds, offering several different scenarios including firefighting and search and rescue in cities, high mountains, coastal waters and other difficult to access landscapes. garnering the experience from this phase of the collaboration, the team wants to provide lawmakers, regulators and training bodies with tactical recommendations on the best practice use of drones in helping people in distress.