Plumes of black smoke oftentimes cover the surrounding area during large fires, making it not only hazardous for firefighters to approach, but also virtually impossible for them to see and assess the situation. The aerial unit of the Greater Manchester Fire and Rescue Service has come up with a creative solution to this problem by using drones with infrared cameras to get visuals through the smoke.
The Aeryon SkyRanger drone is a 5.5 pound quadcopter that can fly for about 40 minutes, and it can reach altitudes of up to 10,000 feet. The drone is operable in most weather, except harsh winds stronger than 30 mph. By law however it is only legally able to fly within 2,500 feet of the operator, and below 400 feet high. Fortunately this is enough for them to be useful for firefighters, and the Manchester team has already demonstrated their value in real life scenarios.