The following blog was prepared by the team at FreeRangeXR
Effective, memorable fire suppression training can be the difference between catastrophic damage or a minor incident. In a three year period, 3,340 office fires caused over $112 million in property damage. According to a National Fire Protection Association report, between 2015-2019, a quarter of all reported structural fires occurred in homes. Knowing what to do in a fire emergency, especially how to properly use a fire extinguisher, is critical information everyone should know. With this information in mind, we at FreeRangeXR created a training module to most effectively teach fire suppression.
The team at FreeRangeXR saw virtual reality as a way to simulate the dangers of a fire emergency without having to set real life fires. Virtual reality training is much more cost effective and safe than an in-person lesson. VR allows for hands-on training without lighting a fire, buying equipment, and having to alert local fire departments of the training. Additionally, by not lighting real fires VR cuts out the hazards of rogue fires, smoke inhalation, and extinguisher dust inhalation.
We elected to conduct training in a kitchen due to the high volume of electricity, gas, and fire contained in one small space, a kitchen similar to one you may find in an everyday office space. The leading cause of home structure fires have been caused by cooking, so training in a kitchen makes the most sense as in all likelihood the place where you might apply this training would be your very own kitchen. In this training, you are essentially building muscle memory for an emergency, so if the time comes you can react confidently and effectively. The lesson in VR is more responsive and can be more memorable than a lecture or slide show. Plus, simulating a fire saves people from starting a real-life controlled fire, while retaining that sense of urgency. With our fire suppression VR module, we’ve even had users stumble backwards and try to run away!
A lot of reading and research went into creating this training module, but perhaps our favorite part of the research was consulting with a former fire station chief. He really enlightened us in how fires spread and how quickly they can spread. Our favorite tip that he shared with us: sleep with your bedroom door closed, it can save your life in case of a fire!
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