The Victorian government has launched an aviation unit within Fire Rescue Victoria (FRV) that will be responsible for using drone technology to assist firefighters and other emergency services who are on-ground.

The new unit will be staffed by four specialist firefighters, including qualified Civil Aviation Safety Authority drone pilots and aviation accredited personnel.

As part of standing up the new FRV unit, four new drones will be made available to Victorian firefighters, which they can deploy to gather aerial images of fires and other emergencies.

More specifically, the new drones, according to the Victorian government, feature high-definition thermal imaging and live-streaming cameras, have the ability to fly for up to 30 minutes and withstand strong wind conditions to help better monitor fires and other incidents from the air.

These new drones will be in addition to the existing drone services that are used by FRV.

“As we saw during last year’s devastating bushfire season, our firefighters tackle some incredibly complex and challenging fires — these four new drones within Fire Rescue Victoria’s new aviation unit will significantly add to their fire-fighting arsenal,” Victorian Police and Emergency Services Minister Lisa Neville said.

“Thanks to this highly specialist aviation unit and these new highly specialized drones, our emergency services will have greater access to critical information and intelligence to efficiently contain fires, respond to emergencies, and save lives.”