During the devastating fire last week that severely damaged the Notre Dame Paris, firefighters deployed DJI drones to help fight the blaze.
According to French media, Parisian firefighters borrowed DJI Matrice 120 and Mavic Pro UAVs from the Ministry of the Interior and the Ministry of Culture to provide reconnaissance and thermal imagery.
“The drones allowed us to correctly use what we had at our disposal,” fire brigade spokesman Gabriel Plus said (in French) to French media.
DJI director of public safety integration Romeo Durocher told media sources the firefighters used the Mavic’s thermal cameras and optical/electronic zoom.
The blaze devastated the building’s spire and most of its roof with additional damage to its upper walls
Although drone flights are prohibited over Paris, DJI’s Flysafe program allowed French officials to get the restriction quickly lifted. The company’s geofence otherwise prevents its drones from flying over the city.
In 2015, al Jazeera reporter Tristan Redman was fined almost $1,200 and his drone confiscated by a Parisian court after he and two of his fellow journalists were arrested for unauthorized drone flights.
Ironically, the journalists claimed their flights were an attempt to film a news story about earlier drone flights over two nights around Paris landmarks such as the Eiffel Tower in addition to the U.S. Embassy. Witnesses reported at least five drones wafting over Parisian skies.
The collaboration may be the first of many for the Chinese company. Earlier this month, DJI announced a Solution Development Partnership with the Los Angeles Fire Department “to create, test and deploy DJI drone technology as an emergency response and preparedness tool,” according to a DJI press release.
“The agreement marks one of DJI’s largest partnerships with a fire-fighting agency in the United States and will provide the LAFD with access to new technologies, training and support to incorporate innovative drone technology into its operations.”
“Through our two-way collaboration, DJI will receive valuable insight into the complexities of deploying drones for emergency situations in one of the most complex urban environments in the nation,” said Bill Chen, Enterprise Partnerships Manager at DJI. “This insight will allow us to continue to refine and develop new technologies that will allow the LAFD and leading public safety agencies around the world to gain more value from life-saving drone technology.”