Chase Reynders: Fire Drone

Taking fire prevention to new heights

Today, high altitude fires pose a threat to urban communities. Because of a fire’s elevation, firefighters may be unable to reach the burning sites with their equipment. In addition, firefighters are at a disadvantage because of their poor vantage point. Civilians stuck in a high altitude fire would more likely go unnoticed, and an incomplete image of a fire means firefighters might make the wrong tactical decisions while combating the blaze. The Notre Dame fire is a present day example of how elevated fires are a dangerous foe. Due to its height and position, firefighters could not easily access the burning spot, causing a monument of France to burn.

Unmanned aerial vehicles are the answer to combating high altitude fires. In this project, I will prototype a firefighting drone. The copter will arrive to the scene more quickly, attacking fires before they grow too large. Also, the drone will be able to reach places that are difficult for firefighters to access. In addition, the drone—like some current multicopters—will use cameras to provide a better vantage point. These machines will make aerial firefighting a safer job. No longer will people have to risk lives flying aircrafts over a danger zone. Instead, drones—a far more expendable alternative—could fly in tanks of retardant, spray, and other forms of defense.

This project entails constructing a heavy-lift drone capable of carrying flame retardant. The prototype will represent one of many firefighting drones which would be employed in swarm fashion. With many drones offering a favorable vantage point as well as depositing their share of flame retardant, fighting high altitude fires would become safer and easier. Overall, firefighting drones would help minimize the threat of elevated urban fires.

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