Researchers at Shenandoah University believe that virtual reality is the forefront of education, not just for traditional schools, but also for training first responders. The Shenandoah Center for Immersive Learning (SCIL) created three simulations to present to first responders at the Emergency Preparedness Instructional Center’s public safety open house.
The free event drew over 20 first responders and educators to Shenandoah’s Halpin-Harrison Hall. The Emergency Preparedness Instructional Center (EPIC), an offshoot of SCIL, has only been formally active since January, but EPIC Director Matthew Watson says they’ve created a tool that could change the way law enforcement and fire and rescue teams train their personnel.
“The idea is now we can put someone in a very immersive environment to where it seems so real and we get the same stress response,” said Watson. “Mentally, I’ve already experienced this.
So when I actually have to deal with it in the real world, I’m much more prepared.” The trainings vary and each has it’s own purpose.
One simulation allows the user to examine the human body, getting up close and personal with organs that they need to be able to identify. Users can see a set of lungs, comparing healthy tissue to that of a patient with asthma or chronic obstructive pulmonary disease.