Multi-purpose drones elude Mumbai firefighters

Firefighters want a drone that can be used to transport water pipes and save drowning people

A drone was first used by Mumbai firefighters to carry out a search operation during the Avighna Park fire, Lower Parel in October 2021

Plans by the Mumbai Fire Department to introduce drones for rescue operations have hit a snag as they are unable to find drones that can be used for both firefighting and drowning.

The first time firefighters used a drone was to carry out a search operation during a fire in Avighna Park, Lower Parel in October 2021. Drones can be used to transport water pipes to floors superiors. “It is really difficult to climb the floors of a skyscraper with firefighting equipment, including oxygen cylinders which usually weigh more than 6 kg,” said an official. Drones are also useful when fighting fires in slums. “The slums being dense, firefighters generally have difficulty getting to the site. The drone can be used in such places,” the officer said.

Fire Chief Hemant Parab said they were looking for a specific type of drone, which would not only help with firefighting operations but also save people from drowning. It should have the ability to drop a flotation device to someone struggling in the water, another official said, adding: “We are still looking for such a drone.” The BMC has made a provision of Rs 300 crore in the budget for the modernization of firefighters.

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