CHUNCHEON, South Korea, Aug. 18 (Korea Bizwire) – Amidst the quickly expanding use of drones across a wide range of industries, police and fire departments in Korea’s Gangwon Province have also decided to implement the unmanned aircraft in their operations.
The drones will first be used in search and rescue operations.
Gangwon has seen a rising number of elderly citizens with Alzheimer’s going missing in recent years, increasing from 128 in 2012 to 157 (2013), 189 (2014), and 224 (2015). Officials noted that 27 of the missing individuals were found dead.
According to the Gangwon Provincial Police Agency (GPPA), predicting where these types of elderly patients will go is often a difficult task, and early rescue failure can lead to death resulting from dehydration or a fall from cliffs in Gangwon’s mountainous terrain.
The agency signed a contract Wednesday with Drone Rescue Korea, which will be providing the necessary drones and equipment for the GPPA’s search missions.
“By dispatching drones to mountainous areas where manned search is more difficult, we’ll be able to shorten the time frame of our operations and decrease the risks of missing people facing unfortunate deaths,” said an agency official.
Drones will also be used for reconnaissance missions.
Gangwon’s Jeongseon County Fire Department held an official launch ceremony for its Drone Rescue Team. The department is currently the only unit in the province to operate rescue drones, which it received from the county in July.
According to the fire department, these UAVs are also perfect for accessing dangerous sites like wildfire scenes, high-rise building fires, or factories with toxic leaks to help better grasp the situation prior to manned dispatch.
The drones have been used on some 20 missions so far, including search and rescue, and the reconnaissance of disaster scenes.
Lee Gi-jung, head of the Jeongseon Fire Department, believes there’s still a lot of room for improvement when it comes to use of the drones on various missions.
“If we can implement thermographic cameras that can sense heat and body temperature, our rescue operations will become much more effective,” said Lee. “We’ll continue our best to safeguard the lives and livelihoods of the residents.”
By Joseph Shin (firstname.lastname@example.org)