Drone team pulls out of firefighting efforts

CityNews – 31st March 2020, following orders over the weekend from the provincial hall that aerial photographs of the fires taken by drones are no longer allowed to be disseminated, the team of volunteer drone operators, who had initially been courted to aid in fire fighting efforts, officially resigned from their duties.

The extraordinarily tone-deaf order was made, it cited, because higher up in the government saw the images as negative portrayal which may lead people to think that the government wasn’t doing a good enough job.

The team sent an official letter to the governor yesterday, 30th March to withdraw from efforts, saying that they would no longer patrol the skies, so that authorities could feel better.

“The volunteer drones team would like to withdraw from this duty so that the government can feel better,” said Theerasak Rupsuwan, the president of the volunteer drones team. “There will no longer be aerial images to disturb your work.”

As news spread about this withdrawal, the governor’s office quickly came out to say that the drones were not asked to stop working, but only to share the images with select groups of people, and not the public in general, as it could lead to alarm in the public.

According to the I Green Facebook page which is run by drone team volunteers, the volunteers have analysed the reasons they have been asked to stop as follows:

  1. By sharing such images on public platforms such a WEVO firefighting Facebook page, this could cause upset in people.
  2. The wide angle aerial images show the fire at their worst and can cause fire fighters to feel tired, requiring more fire fighters per unit.
  3. May lead some people to accuse fire fighters of being unable to contain the fire.
  4. May cause discomfort to responsible departments as images may reveal their lack of competency.
  5. The images may not offer a complete picture of the situation.
  6. The images can be stolen by ill intentioned people who use them to solicit donations.
  7. May cause confusion to various fire fighting offices in terms of budget as donations come in and disrupt preplanned budgets.
  8. These images may discredit higher levels of authority by showing them up.
  9. Operations may not go as smoothly or as should with the disruption of outside interference.
  10. Cover ups are old fashioned, but always used as a tool to cover the faces of those with no abilities.