1. Reconnaissance and mapping
Before disasters strike, drones can be used for risk management and prevention of potential losses, for example, by mapping certain terrain.
2. Structural integrity assessment
Drones function well in environments that are unsafe for humans. For example, the unmanned ground vehicles used after 9/11 moved through extremely small spaces in unstable rubble piles to reach victims.
3. Search and rescue operations
Searching for people or wreckage
4. Temporary infrastructure and supply delivery
Severe weather events damage and can destroy critical infrastructure such as water lines, roadways, bridges, oil and gas pipelines, power plants and transmission lines. In addition to assessing infrastructure damage, drones also can deliver needed supplies to make infrastructure repairs or temporarily bypass damaged infrastructure by delivering supplies like food and water directl. Drones also can act as temporary telecommunications platforms, sending Wi-Fi and cell phone coverage across an area with downed power lines and damaged cell towers.
5. Detecting and extinguishing wildfires
Drones could help reduce the frequency and proximity of contact that firefighters need to make with wildfires. The drones also would be able to fly lower than manned aircraft and in reduced visibility, delivering fire retardant more efficiently, with less risk to pilots. The drones also could be used to map the most likely places to place backfires and ways to evacuate people from high-risk areas.
6. Dealing with chemical, biological, radiological, nuclear or explosive (CBRNE) events
One of the realities of life in the 21st century is that heavy industry and power generation rely on hazardous chemicals and fuels, including fissile material to create nuclear power. Malfunctions in factories or power plants, accidents while transporting hazardous materials, terrorism and criminal sabotage are a few of the incidents that might cause unexpected chemical, biological or nuclear disasters. Using drones in these situations, the report says, significantly reduces human exposure to unsafe environments while providing continuous monitoring and data validation.
7. Insurance claims response and risk assessment
Using drones to fly over an affected area after a disaster, assessing damage to insured property, developing situational awareness for deploying additional claims adjusters on the ground, and supporting the claims response process. Drones provide more options to review properties that otherwise would be inaccessible due to safety concerns. Insurance companies, working with risk managers in all industries, can help with pre-disaster planning. Drone-based high-resolution maps of communities with insured properties would help identify at-risk areas—for example, properties located in flood-prone areas, According to the report, the information would help create the best disaster response protocols and pre-emergency plans.