Friday, September 25, 2020
Education/TrainingVirtual Reality

Can Virtual Reality Be Used to Train Firefighters?

Virtual reality offers a safe yet effective approach for training firefighters.

 

Utah-based company eLearning Brothers has made a safer approach to training firefighters using virtual reality. Volunteers and veterans alike can hone their skills without putting their lives in danger. Trainees can also easily retain information using VR. Moreover, they will feel more confident in high-risk situations.

Here, we’ll delve into the advantages of virtual reality in training firefighters. We’ll also discuss future opportunities for VR fire training.

How Virtual Reality Enhances Fire Training

Firefighters need to undergo long hours of training to improve the execution and efficiency of any operation. Sometimes they get injured during these exercises. In 2018, around 8,175 firefighter injuries were caused by training exercises, according to the National Fire Protection Association.

One of the reasons why virtual reality fire training should be explored further is its capacity to provide a safe training environment. In VR, firefighters can train without the risk of sustaining debilitating and career-ending injuries. They can also conduct exercises whenever and wherever, as long as they have the proper gear.

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The aviation industry has been doing it for years. They’ve been using immersive simulations to train pilots without putting anyone in harm’s way. Thanks to the widespread availability of VR technologies, even your local fire services can take advantage of it now. As VR systems become more accessible, they will be more cost-effective than traditional training methods.

To develop an immersive training course for firefighters, eLearning Brothers used their VR training product — CenarioVR, and worked closely with Transition. Anyone can create training programs with zero coding experience using this platform. The company, in particular, used 360-degree video footage of traffic accidents for the course. In VR, trainees can learn to assess the scene and practice how to extract victims safely.

Due to the immersive nature of VR, trainees can easily retain the information they learn. Furthermore, they will be more confident in applying the skills they’ve learned once confronted with high-risk situations.

The Future of Virtual Reality in Firefighter Training

John Blackmon, eLearning Brothers’ CTO, trained a team of firefighters in the UK using CenarioVR. The South Wales Fire and Safety Department saw a decrease in training costs as they embraced immersive learning. In addition, the learning curve became shorter. It made it easier for firefighters to assess road traffic accidents and rescue victims from the scene safely.

There is no doubt that VR can address critical problems in current fire training approaches. Given the varied and often complex situations that firefighters face, there is a need for more novel and extensive programs. As the immersive learning course only focuses on road traffic accidents, perhaps future VR courses can highlight other high-risk scenarios such as wildfires.

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Using platforms like CenarioVR, fire services can build immersive and cost-effective training solutions, targeting the most common emergencies and disasters in their area.

 

Gergana Mileva
the authorGergana Mileva
Based in Prague, CZ, Geri is a freelance journalist and writer, focusing on technology, finance, and marketing. If you have a story suggestion for Geri, you may contact her here.