Real Life Training for all employees in this way takes time and is expensive and potentially hazardous. Using Virtual Reality (VR) for training purposes is an established process for many hazardous or expensive scenarios: flight simulations, oil tanker navigation, rescue operations, etc.
Fighting small fires with a hand extinguisher is not as easy as it looks. It is a skill to be trained; no one is a born fire-fighter! Grease fires, burning insulation, or burning file cabinets are just some of the possible situations that have to be treated correctly from the beginning, if a larger fire has to be avoided. Therefore the use of hand extinguishers shall be taught. In many cases such a training is even required by law. The goal of this project is to avoid fire damages by close-to-reality trainings for everyone. The virtual fire-fighting system consists of a large screen on which the fire spread is shown, tracking cameras and fire extinguishers.
A VR Training projection set-up can produce high-quality three-dimensional simulations of different fire fighting situations. The extinguishers are tracked by the computer by optical sensors, determining where the nozzle is aimed and how long the trigger is held down. Stereoscopic photos of the trainees work environment are used as basis for simulating the virtual scene.
The trainer defines a simulation scenario:
- where does the fire start
- what kind of combustible material, and
- where the material is located
The simulation software calculates the rate and direction of the fires expansion, as well as the visual appearance of flames and smoke. The training run can be started at any point in the simulation: just after the fire starts or when it already has spread significantly. The trainer can remote control all aspects of the run: start of fire, re-ignition, failure of an extinguisher, spread by sparks, etc.
The advantages of VR are clear: No potential hazard and of course almost any situation can be simulated (outdoor/indoor, still air, draught, wind, lighting situation). Virtual reality provides a safe educational environment to teach the essential mechanical and tactical skills necessary.