Published on August 10th, 2020 | by Emergent Enterprise0
US Fire Administration Advocates The Use Of VR For Firefighter Training
The intensity and danger of an actual building fire is impossible to recreate. Yes, fire companies build training buildings to set on fire but it is not the same and its very expensive and dangerous to train this way. Enter virtual reality. Bobby Carlton has a post in VRScout that reports on the US Fire Administration and their approval of VR training for firefighters. Virtual fires don’t burn or suffocate, a falling beam doesn’t injure and and virtual firetrucks don’t collide with real objects or people. And, the training can done anywhere including right in the firehouse. The benefits far outweigh the shortcomings and it will keep firefighting heroes safe until they face a real fire – but fully prepared.
An average of 11 firefighters have died every year since 2008 during training sessions; VR could help reduce those numbers.
Between 2008 to 2019, 110 firefighters lost their lives during routine training sessions that involved putting out real fires, climbing ladders, hauling heavy equipment, and performing other essential parts of the job that a firefighter would have to do during an actual emergency.
In response to these surprising numbers, a recently published article on The US Fire Administration’s (USFA) training and development page called “Coffee Break Bulletins”, advocates for the use of VR training to help keep firefighters safe during daily training sessions.
The article, entitled Virtual Reality May Save Firefighters Lives, dives into the benefits of VR training, explaining how trainees are able to experience unique and dangerous situations impossible of too expensive to replicate in a real-life training session. It also looks at how VR allows users to face incredibly dangerous situations without the risk of any real-world consequences.
Firefighters around the country have been incorporating VR into their training plans for some time. The Cosumnes Fire Department, for example, has been putting new recruits through VR training regiments designed to simulate dangerous California wildfires, while other departments have begun using immersive technology to prepare staff for a wide range of situations, including kitchen and submarine fires.
In addition to VR, several departments have begun incorporating various haptic technology to enhance their training experiences, such as special suits that emit heat based on the virtual training and nozzle systems that match what you see in VR to create realistic force feedback. For practical on-the-job assistance, companies such as Qwake are in the process of developing AR-enhanced helmets which allow operators to see through thick smoke.