Interpine General Manager, David Herries, realised just how important drones, or UAVs (Unmanned Aerial Vehicles), were becoming as a work tool when he used one to take aerial footage of the devastating fire that swept the Port Hills, overlooking Christchurch, in February of 2017.
As a member of the Rural Fire Service national incident response team David was helping gather information about the huge fire that went on to claim the life of a helicopter pilot fighting the blaze, as well as destroying nine houses and 1,600 hectares of trees and vegetation.
He just happened to have a drone from his workplace with him and put it into the air to film the blaze.
The aerial views provided firefighters with real-time information on how the fire was spreading and where they should deploy their resources. When the main fire had passed, an infra-red camera was deployed on the drone to identify hot-spots under the surface, saving hours of painstaking detective work.
From that point, drones went on to become a front-line aerial tool with the Rural Fire Service, with Interpine training groups of rural fire fighters in their use and also supplying them with UAV kits...
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