DJI, a provider of civilian drones and aerial imaging technology, has announced it has urged authorized drone operators in the southeast US urges to prepare their equipment and operating procedures for rescue and recovery operations post Hurricane Dorian, the company said.
Other drone owners should follow US Federal Aviation Administration (FAA) guidance and ground their aircraft during rescue and recovery operations.
Drones´ unique aerial perspective and ability to easily reach inaccessible areas have rapidly made them vital tools for first responders and infrastructure operators after hurricanes. Drones were first used widely for storm response after Hurricane Harvey struck Houston in 2017, where they were able to quickly inspect and assess infrastructure such as roads, bridges, railroads, power lines and oil refineries.
Once Hurricane Dorian passes, drones are expected to play an important role in search and rescue, damage surveys, recovery planning, utility restoration and media coverage. Public safety agencies, utility operators, media outlets and other drone users with FAA authorization to fly DJI drones should prepare now to ensure they can fly in a chaotic post-storm environment without electricity or internet service.
DJI has unlocked its geofencing restrictions for drones operated by Florida Power & Light Company, which serves more than 10 million people across the state of Florida, and is working with other utilities which may be called in to assist recovery efforts. DJI is also working with Florida emergency management agencies and with DJI Enterprise dealers who serve first responders to quickly unlock geofencing for public safety drones in Florida.
Drone owners who do not have FAA authorization to fly as part of Hurricane Dorian response and recovery should not fly in the aftermath of the storm. Airspace in affected areas will be crowded with low-flying helicopters and airplanes flying unusual patterns, temporary flight restrictions may be applied with little notice, and drone pilots who interfere with emergency response could face fines as high as USD 20,000.
DJI develops and manufactures civilian drones and aerial imaging technology for personal and professional use.