Remote Piloted Airborne Systems (RPAS), known more as drones, are transforming the approach to emergency management. As a support tool, they can lead to quicker and more efficient interventions, offer enhanced situational information and provide direct help, such as dropping life-saving equipment. This translates into more saved lives, increased efficiency, clearer situational awareness and all round better prepared emergency services whilst simultaneously reducing the costs of emergency management. Indeed, the benefits can be great; but how can we maximise them while minimising risks?

In June 2015, EENA launched a Working Group on Drones, which now gathers 85 members from 30 countries worldwide! The group is open to all interested parties, gathering expertise from emergency services, public authorities, researchers, RPAS manufacturers, and more. The aim of the group is to analyse the technical, legal and operational, safety and privacy aspects of using RPAS in emergency situations, provide the context for their use and highlight some key recommendations for their effective implementation. 

We are very happy to announce that the white paper of the working group on “Remote Piloted Airborne Systems (RPAS) and the emergency services” is now published!

But our work is not done. The white paper is an important marker for using RPAS during emergencies, but more steps will follow. Among others, EENA will work on the compilation of an inventory of Use Cases where the emergency services are using RPAS. Moreover, together with our partners, EENA will evaluate taking the lead in creating an operations manual for the use of RPAS by emergency services.

We would like to thank everyone who contributed to this document for their valuable input.

To read the document, please click here.

For more information, or to join EENA’s Working Group on Drones, please contact Tony O’Brien at [email protected].