AS drones become increasingly popular and with many of the unmanned aircrafts tipped to land under the Christmas tree this year, authorities are urging those lucky enough to receive one to steer well clear of hospitals.
Queensland Health has launched a new digital campaign reminding families that all hospitals are “drone-free zones”.
The rules are clear – drones are not to be flown within a five kilometre radius of any hospital. Those who break the rules could be hit with a hefty fine, as high as $10,000 depending on the nature of the breach. (See rules below).
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Minister for Health and Ambulance Services Steven Miles said while drones may be great for entertainment, they can pose a serious risk when flown within the fly zone of hospitals.
“Christmas is a really busy time for our hospitals – we’ll often have up to 500 patients arrive by helicopter over the holiday season and ensuring the pilots can get them to the critical care they need swiftly and safety is vital,” Mr Miles said.
“This campaign aims to educate drone pilots about their responsibilities and remind them not to fly within a five kilometre radius of any hospital.”
Queensland Government Air’s Trevor Wilson said there have been several occasions, over the past few years, where aeromedical crews have seen drones flying whilst responding to a mission.
“Some of our aircrafts have had to take extra measures to avoid drones which have been hovering near helicopter landing pads,” Mr Wilson said.
“When it’s life or death for some of our patients, there’s no time to wait for a drone to clear the area.
“Recreational use of drones has become increasingly popular and we recognise this, but we are appealing for the public to help us do our jobs safely.”
Civil Aviation Safety Authority’s Peter Gibson it’s important to know where you can and can’t fly drones safely around Queensland.
“Follow the rules and have fun, but remember it is the responsibility of everyone flying a drone to stick to the safety rules at all times,” Mr Gibson said.
“The rules are simple but vitally important to keep people, aircraft and property safe from drones. The rules are enforced and fines can be up to $10,000.”
CASA says drones must be operated in accordance with the safety regulations, in particular:
- You must not operate your drone in a way that creates a hazard to another aircraft, person or property
- Fly no higher than 120 metres
- You must keep your drone at least 30 metres away from other people
- The drone must always be in your line of sight.