Combat Drones: What You Should Do If There is a Buzz in the Sky

Until recently, drones were associated with something positive: someone was filming a wedding, television was filming bird’s eye views, bloggers were creating engaging content for subscribers. But the last 2 years have greatly changed the attitude towards drones because now they have been adopted by the armies of different countries. They equip the UAVs with several kilograms of explosives and send to a target. Unfortunately, important infrastructure facilities in peaceful cities often become the targets, thus risking the lives of the civilian population.

We turned for recommendations to Vahan Ghukasyan, a specialist with extensive experience in working with drones, and asked him to tell us how ordinary people should behave if a drone was spotted nearby. He gave us these instructions.


  • If you're in the street
  • Where you should not hide
  • If UAV strikes your house

If you’re in the street

If you are in the street and you notice a UAV, then:

— Try to assess the situation and run away as quickly as possible from buildings that could be a potential target for attackers. These could be power plants, gas stations, government buildings, or simply glass structures. The latter are much more susceptible to explosions and their fragments can injure people in a large radius. The enemy can choose such a building as a target for terror and intimidation.

— If a combat drone is equipped with built-in weapons, it can initiate aerial strafing. If a non-military person sees something like this, the reaction can be unpredictable. The advice may sound simple: under no circumstances should you panic. You should neither stand still, nor run up hill and down dale. Shrouded in fear, you may run out onto the roadway and be hit by a car.

— Modern drones move almost silently. Older models may buzz but not whistle. The whistling sound is a rocket being fired. If you hear it, don’t think about your appearance, fall to the ground and cover your head with your hands. Be sure to open your mouth slightly to avoid possible contusion or membrane damage from the shock wave.

You need to get to a secluded place - a depression in the ground, a ditch, a hole - without standing up, but crawling. Don't play a hero, don't get up until the explosions subside.

If you are in a car during shelling, then you urgently need to get out of it, run away from this “barrel of gasoline” and also lie down on the ground.

If, for some reason, the drone lands or falls to the ground, do not ever approach or touch it: the explosives may detonate. Call the professionals at the Ministry of Emergency Situations at 112.

Where you should not hide

In addition to the vehicles already mentioned, try to avoid being near glass and concrete buildings, as well as pools and ponds. The latter are dangerous due to the risk of getting concussed or losing consciousness in the water.

You should also stay away from crowds of people. Terrorists may target crowds.

If UAV strikes your house

Immediately move away from the windows and go down to the basement. If it is not there, then use the rule of two walls: the corners of the main walls will be the safe place in the event of a building collapse. The bathroom and hallway are also considered safe places in the house. Also try to stay away from heavy furniture: if it shakes, anything that is not nailed down can fall down, and you risk injury.

In wartime, even if you just heard the sound of a drone in the sky, immediately turn off the electricity and gas and rush to the basement. This will reduce the risk of fire in your house.