Drone safety is a focal topic across the globe for both drone operators and the public. And in response to “numerous reports about dangerous counterfeit or fake drones, as well as fires and explosions started by faulty or poorly maintained lithium drone batteries and chargers,” in the UK, Electrical Safety First – a nonprofit organization designed to promote electrical safety and fire prevention – has launched a drone buying, charging and storage safety resource for drone pilots.
Counterfeit drones have been reported to catch fire – and are a growing problem in the drone community, as more buyers search for bargains online. Forums on drone manufacturer websites, eBay, and other pilot community sites abound with reports from drone operators who may discover that the Phantom they got a great deal on wasn’t real. Beyond the problem of fraudulent sales, fake drones may be manufactured without regards to safety standards, and can cause serious issues for pilots.
Martyn Allen, Head of the Electrotechnical Division at Electrical Safety First, says that while pilots understand flight rules they need to think about safety even while the drone is on the ground. “DRONELIFE readers will no doubt be aware of the importance of safely operating a drone in the air. However, what’s less well understood is the danger that drones can pose elsewhere. For example, Lithium or ‘LiPo’ batteries can pose a fire risk thanks to their volatility, so they require proper storage and maintenance,” says Allen. “Meanwhile, counterfeit drones with poor manufacturing standards are permeating the market, resulting in a variety of risks. We hope this guide helps drone pilots take a more holistic view of safe and responsible drone use.”
The guide provides some pre-purchase checks to ensure that the drone considered is not a counterfeit, including checking trademarks and contact details to make sure that the product is traceable. It also includes charging instructions; storage advice; and pre-flight checks. Operators who want more information – including the number to call when reporting a counterfeit drone purchase – can find the complete guide here.
Miriam McNabb is the Editor-in-Chief of DRONELIFE and CEO of JobForDrones, a professional drone services marketplace, and a fascinated observer of the emerging drone industry and the regulatory environment for drones. Miriam has a degree from the University of Chicago and over 20 years of experience in high tech sales and marketing for new technologies.
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