DRONES could be used to help fight fires after a proposal in this regard was unanimously approved by the Northern Municipal Council yesterday.Councillor Mohammed Al Dossary, who spearheaded the move, believes that drones could provide the much-needed help to get fires put out faster, reduce spending on conventional water or chemical methods and also ensure that firefighters and people caught in the fire or smoke are got out of harm’s way.

Drones are eyes in the sky for firefighters, providing situational awareness, thermal imaging, and rescue capabilities.“High-rise buildings bring great challenges to firefighting units,” said Mr Al Dossary.“With equipment at ground level, it becomes difficult to control the fire at higher levels,” he explained as he presented his ideas to colleagues during a regular meeting at the council headquarters in Budaiya.

“In such a scenario, we believe the Civil Defence should acquire a dual fire-fighting drone that has a large load capacity, strong wind resistance, high throwing precision, and can carry fire extinguishers.“At the same time, it can also spray fire-extinguishing powder at close range.”The councillor said firefighters would have to be trained on the new technology, which could be powered by artificial intelligence.

“Such drones are now being used in the US, China, Japan and several other countries to help in safer, quicker and more efficient firefighting.“The drones we would like purchased feature a folding fuselage, super-load and anti-shock design, fast access to high-rise fire scenes and high-powered cameras to observe the fire.

“It should have ultra-strong load and anti-shake design, combined with high-powered scope and high frame rate camera with night vision function, high launch accuracy, capable of remotely and accurately launching fire extinguishers in complex fire weather conditions.”He explained that through images transmitted by the drones, the target is displayed to the ground control operators in real time, which greatly improves the shooting accuracy and improves the rescue efficiency.“Using laser radar technology, the intelligent obstacle avoidance system is made of high-precision sensors,” added Mr Al Dossary.

“The laser range can reach 100m, and it can recognise obstacles other than 3-15m (adjustable) in the front direction and brake deceleration to prevent accidental operation.“Double protection against obstacles and ranging makes the flight safer and increases the probability of rescue.”Mr Al Dossary said custom-made drones could also be ordered based on Bahrain’s firefighting needs.

“We are not calling for full implementation without first knowing precise technical firefighting needs and costs, so some drones could be bought and tested,” he said.“This enables adjustment and possible custom-made drones that match local needs.

“However, upon success, a plan to get the drones introduced nationwide should be drawn up.”The proposal has been referred to Municipalities Affairs and Agriculture Minister Wael Al Mubarak to forward to Interior Minister General Shaikh Rashid bin Abdulla Al Khalifa for review.mohammed@gdnmedia.bh

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