What are they really for anyway? Getting the ultimate selfie or shot for your Instagram? Or could they be used for something far better — maybe even saving lives?

Allow me to "drone" on about it!

Here are five things to know:

  1. The drone is an incredible new option for first responders, delivering supplies, support, communication and advice until medical teams can reach the scene. Drones can send medical tools that can check heart rates and temperatures and even defibrillators to help heart attack victims.
  2. Tests have been successful in using drones to deploy buoyancy devices to those trapped at sea, spotting sharks and even helping to pull victims back to shore. Incredible! Drones fitted with Lidar (light detection and ranging) can even create 3D images of a disaster site to make it easier to assess for fire and rescue. There are even drones that can become a small, flying cell tower so that when disasters knock out the phone service, people trapped in buildings can call emergency services.
  3. In wildfire situations, they can help map out where the fire is and how it’s progressing — all without waiting for helicopters or planes to arrive — saving vital minutes of rescue time. But perhaps their biggest use is in the search for missing persons when there are major emergencies. In the recent Kentucky tornado, drones were even used to help find animals and pets that were trapped in the rubble.
  4. Globally, they’ve been used to help track the spread of tuberculosis by getting tests quickly to the lab in mountainous Nepal as well as releasing dengue fever fighting mosquitoes in Fiji.
  5. Drones are also helping to restore forests in Panama and Kenya by releasing seed bombs from the air as well as tracking endangered species in the world’s jungles and seas.

You may think of drones as nothing more than fancy flying cameras, but in the future, they’ll certainly be delivering far more than your underpants from Amazon. They could be your salvation from the sky above.