Blown fibre optic installation specialists Networx3 have launched a new ‘loan drone’ service to help mountain rescue teams save lives across Lancashire, Greater Manchester and Yorkshire.
Lancashire-based Networx3 is offering its four state-of-the-art drones, pilots and mapping software to the five mountain rescue teams that make up the Mid-Pennine Search and Rescue Organisation (MPSRO).
The hi-tech kit, with thermal imaging camera and high-definition cameras, is capable of picking up an image as small as a postage stamp from a kilometre away.
The ‘loan drone’ service is the brainchild of managing director Ian Ashworth.
He said: “We want to give something back, and knowing what this kit can do, we’d like our regional mountain rescue teams to be able to have access to it when they need it.
“When we’re not using it we will loan out our equipment with pilots, including the drones with a thermal imaging camera and mapping software which means you can create a 2D map from aerial imagery, in minutes, as well as offering our expertise.
“Most mountain rescue teams don’t have a drone of their own so we’d like them to utilise ours when they need it.”
MPSRO covers search and rescue in the caves, moors and hills in West Yorkshire, Lancashire and the Pennines, and areas of Greater Manchester and comprises Bolton, Bowland Pennine, Calder Valley, Holme Valley, Rossendale and Pendle teams.
The MPSRO water rescue team was part of the emergency response to the Toddbrook Reservoir dam wall collapse this summer.
Networx3, which specialises in installing blown fibre optic communications infrastructure uses its drones to survey land, protect its engineers by inspecting potentially hazardous terrain, provide ecology reports and complete security sweeps.
Networx3 was founded by Mr Ashworth, a mechanical engineer, in 2003. Since then it’s grown into an industry-leading firm with clients including government departments, critical infrastructure sectors, mobile phone giants and renewable energy utility companies.
The firm is the biggest installer of blown fibre optic cable in the UK and in 2011 installed the biggest blown fibre optic cable network in Europe – in Manchester.
The company is based in Great Harwood, Blackburn, and has a team including certified drone pilots, engineers and ecologists.