Fire and Rescue NSW embraces new technology to bolster training for firefighting leaders - NSW

Published: 01 Apr 2023 08:53pm

Fire and Rescue NSW (FRNSW) is adding to its training arsenal by expanding the rollout of technology simulating real-life emergencies and testing how senior firefighters respond to them.

The new ‘virtual reality’ (VR) software, being installed at a fire station for the first time, features life-like animations of incidents including house and building fires, motor vehicle accidents, structural collapses and bushfires.

Through wearing VR headsets, fitted with sensors tracking their movements, firefighters can immerse themselves in highly realistic scenarios and complete a series of challenges, as if they are occurring in the real-world environment.

It complements existing training programs which combine classroom-based education with hands-on lessons at FRNSW’s Emergency Services Academy (ESA) and other facilities.

FRNSW Commissioner Paul Baxter today participated in the VR training by Station Officers and Inspectors at Huntingwood Fire Station, in Sydney’s west.

The training allows senior firefighters to make ‘crucial decisions’ during simulated high-risk situations, identifying their strengths and potential weaknesses in a safe work setting.

“This technology is an ‘out of the box’ approach to firefighter training and another example of how Fire and Rescue NSW is leading the way,” said Commissioner Baxter.

“Our firefighters can now fine-tune their responses to a variety of emergencies, without having to risk their safety.

“This will enhance the already comprehensive training and development programs available to our people as they work every day to keep our communities safe.”

FRNSW Zone Commander Michael van den Bout said the technology is a game-changer.

“Our people will hopefully feel more confident and prepared when they respond to incidents, because they’ve had a ‘dress rehearsal’ through using this innovative resource,” Superintendent van den Bout said.

“This technology doesn’t remove the need for traditional training and development opportunities, which will continue as normal, but certainly reinforces what we learn during such programs.”

Planning is now underway to also trial the VR equipment in a regional fire station later this year.

It may be expanded to all FRNSW zones across the state if its implementation proves successful.

VR modules have previously been developed as part of FNRSW’s fire safety education program for children and are available for download at [external link] and via app stores.

EDITOR'S NOTE: Footage of the 'FLAIM' virtual reality technology is available for download via the following web links:

Urban garage: [external link]

Nature: [external link]

Vehicle in tunnel: [external link]

Updated: 01 Apr 2023 08:58pm

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