Fire & Rescue Services Drones

Fire and rescue departments in the UK and throughout the world are starting to use drones more regularly in fire and rescue situations.

UAVs are helping firefighters collect vital information in all stages of a rescue which helps them focus where help is needed most keeping them safer and helping save lives.

In the UK may fire and rescue teams are using drones to help with the day to day tasks they face, this means being registered with the Civil Aviation Authority (CAA) and having a drone insurance policy in place that’s meets the current EU regulation EC 785/2004.

Check out the video below of the UK's West Yorkshire Fire & Rescue Services using footage of a large fire in Pudsey

Which fire departments are currently using drones in the UK?

As at April 2018 there are a wide range of fire departments using UAVs.  According to the CAA there are 12 fire and rescue departments on the CAP1361: Small Unmanned Aircraft (SUA) operators holding a valid CAA permission.

  • Buckinghamshire & Milton Keynes Fire Authority
  • County Durham And Darlington Fire And Rescue Service
  • Devon And Somerset Fire And Rescue Service
  • Greater Manchester Fire And Rescue Service
  • Hertfordshire Fire and Rescue
  • Humberside Fire And Rescue Service
  • Kent Fire And Rescue Service
  • Lancashire Fire and Rescue Service
  • Mid & West Wales Fire and Rescue Service
  • Northamptonshire Fire and Rescue Service
  • Suffolk Fire And Rescue Service
  • West Yorkshire Fire And Rescue Service

What are the fire services using UAVs for?

Fire services are able to use drones for a variety of different tasks.  Some of the most popular uses of drones being used in the fire service are listed below.


Having an eye in the sky while making decisions is invaluable.  Using a drone can give you all this data to help make the best decisions particularly if there are lives at risk.

Using a standard camera can give the operator a certain view of what is happening with a fire so it can be monitored accurately.  With the use of thermal imaging cameras this is the technology which really has helped firefighters.  Imagine seeing all the hot and cool spots of a fire to be able to see and help your fellow ground crew.

Search and Rescue

Many emergency departments get involved in search and rescue as they all bring together their knowledge.  Drones give a birds eye view of the situation and can help emergency service teams involved in search and rescues to use the data quickly and efficiently while remaining safe.

There have been many successful stories of drones helping find lost and missing individuals and bringing them back to safety.

Postfire and disaster assessment

We all know how valuable the data collected by drones can be, with the high quality of the imagery the footage can be used throughout the disaster and after.

Using the drone firefighters are able to analyse the damage, spot any non-visible survivors they can’t see from the ground and then use this data afterwards.  This data can be used for evaluation of the job or even used to help train new firefighters.

What equipment are the fire services using?

Some of the most popular drones being flown by emergency teams include DJI Inspire 1 and they aeryon skyranger.

Both these drones have the capability to have both standard camera with the ability to use a thermal imaging camera as well.

Newer models that we might see being used will be the Matrice 200 series which also has the ability to switch payloads.  You can also have a standard camera and a thermal imaging camera running at the same time, two birds one stone.

The price ranges of these vary dramatically and we are able to insure a variety of drones so contact us so you’re not exposed to financially lose out.

What are the regulations and legislations about firefighters flying drones?

There are certain laws and regulations which fire and rescue departments need to abide by still when operating a drone.  Many of them are opting to obtain a Permission for Commercial Operations (PfCO) from the CAA.

To be able to apply for a PfCO operators need to complete a ground school test and flying competency to show they are confident at flying and understand the air laws.

Part of applying for this will include an operations manual and proof of insurance for operations.  Insurance is a regulatory requirement when operating under a PfCO and it has to meet EU regulations.

All our insurance policies for PfCO enterprises fully comply with the current laws.  To find out more about how we can help you organise an insurance policy which suits your needs give us a call on 0207 112 8140.