Swedish Civil Contingencies Agency (MSB) have take the initiative to scientifically validate VR for fire fighting training using the FLAIM Trainer in a 3 day testing cycle using a qualitative questionnaire methodology.
As explained (in Swedish) in detail by MSB in an article on the MSB News website 24/7 (Tjugofyra7), a class from SMO (protection against accidents), teachers and representatives from rescue services used FLAIM Trainer at the MSB Rescue College in Sandö, Sweden.
A total of 40 rescue professionals tested FLAIM Trainer in 15 minute training cycles. Their feedback was recorded during a carefully designed assessment sequence which consisted of pre- and post-training questionnaires.
Lead Researcher and simulation training expert Cecilia Hammar Wijkmark is structuring and reviewing the data and will present a full research outcome during her presentation at the ITEC 2019 Conference in Stockholm in May.
“The response from the test has been positive” says Ms. Hammer Wijkmark. “An overwhelming majority is positive or very positive towards a generally increased use of virtual simulation in the education. A big plus that the students pay attention to is the possibility to train without exposure to carcinogenic particles. 68 percent of the respondents state that this is one of the biggest advantages”.
FLAIM Europe’s representative Martijn Boosman took on the role of VR operator during the test sessions to support MSB Fire Instructor Sune Fankvist. Having observed very different behavior patterns amongst the students Martijn asked Mr. Fankvist if he saw the same behavior patterns in the fire containers during live fire training. “The similarity is striking”, said Mr. Fankvist. “I have seen my students in the same way in VR as during live training. The students who boldly attack the live fire did the same in FLAIM Trainer. Other students whom I know have a more thoughtful approach first observed the fire in FLAIM Trainer and then took decisive action”.
Mr. Fankvist continues: “- I believe that virtual simulation will soon be a natural complement to traditional fire extinguishing training, because the technology is developing at a rapid pace. The simulation of the fire and its effect on it is becoming more and more realistic. In certain sections, it will mean more realistic exercises than we can at present in the exercise fields.”
The testing cycle at MSB was funded through the MSB Early responders Innovation Arena project. The testing cycle does not constitute an endorsement by MSB for the FLAIM Trainer solution.