How Are Drones Used in Emergencies?

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News Date: 
April 16, 2022

The Salinas Police (SPD) and Fire (SFD) Departments frequently work together in the use of Unmanned Aerial Vehicles (UAVs) or drones. The use of UAVs helps emergency personnel see "hidden threats" during emergencies, like during the 2022 Abbott Incident that begain the evening of April 13th. 

The SPD UAV Unit used drones equipped with thermal cameras to locate hot spots not visible at ground level. Drone video helps firefighting efforts by eliminating the need to put firefighters in dangerous position such as roof tops and allows fire personnel to focus aerial attacks with water from above. However, the Abbott Incident was unique due the presence of hazardous materials causing police and fire to evacuate and create a wide perimeter, to the point the Taylor property could not be monitored without the use of the UAVs.

UAVs in the Abbott Incident allowed emergency personnel to monitor the situation throughout the night into the following day by the Salinas Police and the Seaside Fire Department UAV Units. The pilots relayed footage to the fire command center where they monitored the fire to ensure no other buildings caught fire, wind conditions, hot spots, and the hazardous materials storage containers themselves.