Earlier this week the New York City Fire Department used a drone for the first time to help fight a fire. The FDNY has an $85,000 drone that is equipped with high-definition cameras and a FLIR infrared camera.
The drone hovered above a four-alarm fire in the Bronx and was able to use its infrared camera to keep eyes on a troublesome roof that firefighters feared would collapse. The real-time infrared monitoring helped direct firefighters to safe spaces on the roof and offered authorities in charge a view they aren’t often afforded.
A video from the FDNY shows what the drone saw during the fire. While it might seem like a boring video, it shows the power of drones mounted with infrared cameras. If you skip forward to the 1:55 mark you can see the FLIR camera view displayed in the top right corner and at the 4:23 mark this view becomes full screen. The image shows in ‘white hot’ which means the brightest areas are the hottest. The infrared camera mounted on the drone clearly shows the ‘white hot’ areas of the roof and how firefighters are avoiding these areas.
Deputy Assistant Fire Chief Dan Donoghue was quoted in the USA Today saying, “The roof started to fail and we had a lot of great radio reports, but that’s only verbal, so with the drone we had good visual pictures and it really helped us make decisions to put this fire out and keep our members safe. Seeing it is helpful”