Stream 2

Developing & evaluating emergency response training with Virtual Reality


Meeting Rooms 22 June 2022 4:00 pm - 4:30 pm

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Simon Hoermann

Radio communication between firefighters is essential and training for this needs to be carried out similarly to other firefighting skills.

We have been working closely with Fire Emergency New Zealand (FENZ) to develop and evaluate Virtual Reality systems for firefighter training that mimic real-life radio communication challenges. In particular, we have developed simulations for air attack supervisors, who as part of their role need to assess the status of rural fires from the air, coordinate appropriate measures to fight the fire, and remain on-site in the air until the fire is under control.

Our simulator uses non-immersive VR with a 270° Cylindrical Projection system. Hence, we are able to use the actual radio communication equipment that firefighters have to use in a “virtually” stressful situation. With our system, we provide opportunities for “live” training beyond just mock fire sites, where orange cones are set up as the fire line and there is only one fixed-wing and one helicopter to coordinate.

While not a complete substitute for the live training firefighters perform, our system allows them to train with the real communication equipment, while we can virtually alter many important variables, such as time of day, terrain, number and type of aircraft, type of burning, location of power lines, houses, and campsites, distance to water sources, number and type of ground assets, and more.

 Simon Hoermann — Senior Lecturer – University of Canterbury