I have been reading a lot of articles lately about the use of drones for public and commercial purposes. This led me to ask if drones could serve a useful purpose for preppers. I think they can and I’ll tell you why.
What is a drone?
A drone is defined as an unmanned aircraft that operate autonomously beyond line of sight. In other words, a vehicle controlled remotely with the use of Global Positioning Systems (GPS) and cameras. Today when people hear the word, drones they may think of military operated Unmanned Ariel Vehicles (UAV’s). Military drones can be armed and are usually called predator drones and then there are drones used for surveillance purposes only.
Certain law enforcement agencies other than the federal government in the United States use drones for surveillance purposes. Many civil liberty organizations have protested their use saying they can infringe upon civil liberties denying people the expectation of privacy on their own property.
The advancement of technology has made it so that one person with the proper training can take the place of dozens of people on the ground gathering intelligence. One person with a surveillance drone can cover hundreds of miles a day where in the past this would take days if not longer to conduct reconnaissance of the area.
As a prepper, you must have situational awareness at all times. You cannot be surprised by any threat because then you are reacting to it on someone else’s terms. Having a defensive posture immediately puts you at a disadvantage versus an offensive posture.
I do not want to delve into the legality or moral issues surrounding drones. It is incumbent upon everyone to properly research and know the laws as they pertain to the use of surveillance equipment in public or private venues. Drones have been authorized for commercial/private purposes, and can be used for photography, monitoring wildlife, shooting films and so forth.
According to legal experts, the monitoring of public and private property from a public place such as airspace is generally allowed and that people do not have a reasonable expectation of privacy if they put themselves in view of persons viewing them in or from a public place.
Drones and Preppers
Information is crucial during a disaster, and having a means to gather intelligence without endangering yourself is ideal. Drones outfitted with real time video feed can supply you with vital information about what is going on in your community.
Drones can help you monitor your immediate area for looters and provide real time images of people who may have your home under surveillance. Those that have prepared for the crisis are a target, because of their supplies. Home defense is critical during a crisis and having “eyes in the sky” can give you advanced warning about any threats.
Drones can also be used to convey information back and forth. You can deliver messages and have the receiver of those messages in turn send one back. This is ideal for those concerned about electronics communications monitoring by others.
Surveillance drones can go where humans cannot for example if there is a nuclear, chemical or biological attack you can monitor the situation from a safe distance and make decisions about evacuation or other protective measure to take. The drone can also be used to map out evacuation routes. You would have to avoid bridges, tunnels and elevated highways because you can be trapped in some cases.
The typical drone available for private or commercial use would be battery operated. Gas operated ones are available, but will also require batteries for backup and starting the engine. Weight can be a factor as well as, safety concerns about flying in residential areas with flammable fuel bladders.
The batteries would be rechargeable so access to 115V household current is crucial during a disaster. This means you would need a backup electrical generator. The flying time varies and it is difficult at this time to give an estimate. Head winds as well as tail winds all factor in and the size of the vehicle is a factor along with its payload of cameras, supplies and so on.
Drones for the most part would be visible from the ground and thus may become a target if someone feels they are under surveillance. The drones can be shot down rather easily by small arms fire. The drones can also be captured if you will and any messages or supplies would be compromised.
Practicing with your drone is vital, so you can perform evasion tactics if your drone comes under attack. You also need to consider the fact that your drone can be traced back to your location, by simply following it. Also in some cases, radio signal triangulation can reveal your location.
The signal to your drone can also be compromised by jamming equipment, weather and other communication devices and of course an Electromagnetic Pulse (EMP) created by a surface or atmospheric nuclear detonation would render the drone inoperative unless the electronic components where properly shielded.
Are Drones a feasible Component of a Preparedness Plan?
The uses for a drone are only limited by your imagination essentially. In any tactical situation, a drone is your forward observer. Instead of putting humans at risk, you would use the drone. In years past the only way sometimes to discover an ambush was to walk into one.
Anyone can rationalize the purchase of a drone, but you have to keep in mind a drone is not a toy, it is a tool. In an urban setting, you can quite easily feel like you are cut off from the rest of the city or community. A drone can help you gather the facts instead of allowing your imagination to determine your next move. People make fatal decisions based on flawed information, so knowing the facts is important.
Families may evacuate their homes based on what others have told them about a nuclear, chemical or biological attack in their city. If you can determine the facts on your own, you may not have to evacuate. You want to avoid fleeing one disaster and being thrust into another.
PREP NOW – PREP HARD