On Sunday 24 November, CFA volunteers from Fortuna Group immersed themselves in a new computer simulation training program designed to improve their incident control and media responsibilities at an incident.
Firefighters at the Huntly Fire Station got to call the shots inside a virtual reality simulation, based on a fictional plane collision incident at a local airport.
Firefighters were faced with a simulated running grassfire, an airplane fuel leak and a person trapped inside the plane, and they are expected to manage their priorities and safely control the incident.
CFA Computer Simulation Specialist Aaron Stockton said the new simulated scenario exposed firefighters to a number of incident complexities that are unable to be replicated in practical field training.
“The scenario required the firefighters to make decisions as the Incident Controller, which includes allocating vehicles and personnel to different locations to take on a variety of complications at the incident,” Mr Stockton said.
“Anything that would normally happen at a real incident can occur on screen and we can visualise the outcome.
“VR simulation can assist firefighters with their communication and decision making skills in a variety of scenarios, from bushfire to airport fires.”
The simulation also provided a realistic interaction between a firefighter on scene and local media.
An on-screen cameraperson was visible while a person in the room asked questions relating to the incident and participating firefighters were required to provide accurate and succinct responses in real time.
“This exposed the firefighters to common questions asked by journalists at an incident site,” Mr Stockton said.