After a classroom course, the responders get hands-on training by driving a fire engine in a virtual simulator. (Christina Thompson, NewsChannel 12 photo)
A virtual reality course takes training to a whole new level for emergency responders.
Onslow County Emergency Services offered the training course to all of its first responders. It uses high tech to improve driving sckills and get responders ready for real-life road situations. After a classroom course, the responders get hands-on training by driving a fire engine in a virtual simulator.
"This is a virtual live driving simulator so basically we put people in virtual reality situations of cars coming at them that we can't do training like that in real life," said Eric Barnwell, Battalion Chief and Instructor for Virtual Reality Course. "We really need to be able to bridge that gap between real life and just driving around cones in a parking lot."
Barnwell said they have been training responders in North Carolina for 13 years. He estimates close to 12,000 people, 120 of those are responders in Onslow County.