1. #1
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    Post Virtual Firefighting, a Training Tool

    By MIKE CRISSEY
    Associated Press Writer
    PITTSBURGH (AP) - Firefighters say there is no easy call,
    because they never know what they are going to find.
    But they might soon get a better handle on some of the hairiest
    situations with the help of a simulator being developed by Carnegie
    Mellon University.
    For the past three years, professor Jesse Schell and teams of
    graduate students have been working on "Hazmat: Hotzone," a
    networked, multiplayer simulator that's a virtual disaster drill
    for dealing with hazardous materials.
    It's a cross between a first-person shooter like "Doom,"
    "Half-Life" or "Halo" and a role-playing game. It is designed
    to fill the gap between classroom or firehouse lectures and mock
    disasters, like one involving as many as 14,000 people scheduled
    Saturday in Pittsburgh.
    "The best instructors explain something and then do a
    role-playing scenario," said Schell, a professor at Carnegie
    Mellon's Entertainment Technology Center. "Usually the trainees in
    the classroom have to imagine it and what they may or may not do.
    It is sort of like the instructor is like a dungeon master, leading
    them through this."
    A prototype of the simulator has been tested by the Fire
    Department of New York and the Region 13 Task Force, a group that
    includes emergency officials from 13 southwestern Pennsylvania
    counties and Pittsburgh. When it's finished, Carnegie Mellon plans
    to provide the program free to firefighting training centers
    nationwide.
    Teams of firefighters sitting at desktop computers and linked
    over a network find themselves dropped off for a call - say, a
    reported chemical leak in a subway - and have to find and evacuate
    people inside.
    The victims show symptoms such as vomiting, facial twitching,
    convulsions, bleeding, clammy skin and nausea, which can give
    firefighters clues to what chemicals are involved. Firefighters can
    look at the victims, talk to them to try to figure out what
    happened and tell them to evacuate or follow them to safety.
    Instructors set up the virtual disasters by placing victims,
    chemical leaks and fires throughout a factory, street corner or
    subway. They can also give the victims symptoms that progress over
    time. For a chlorine leak, for example, the victims would begin by
    coughing, their skin would turn blue, they would begin vomiting and
    eventually pass out and die.
    Instructors can also change the scenarios on the fly, adding new
    chemical leaks, victims or even knocking out one of the
    firefighters.
    "The more realistic you can make it, the better it is," said
    Alan Caldwell, senior adviser for the International Association of
    Fire Chiefs and a former volunteer fire chief in Fairfax County,
    Va. "You're obviously not going to release some type of a
    hazardous material just to find out if people get it by dropping in
    their tracks. But as close as you can come to the real thing, the
    better it is."
    Caldwell called firefighters "good visual learners."
    "They do it by hands-on and by repetition and that's what
    training is all about. Because you have to train the way you are
    going to play," Caldwell said.
    In a report a year after the Sept. 11 terrorist attacks, the
    federation noted that most of the nation's first-responders -
    firefighters, police officers and paramedics - felt they didn't
    have enough training to handle a terrorist attack involving
    chemical, biological or radiological weapons.
    Video games are a natural training tool, said Kay Howell, vice
    president for information technology for the Federation of American
    Scientists.
    The U.S. Army and the Federal Aviation Administration, for
    example, already use video game-like simulators to train soldiers
    and airline pilots and save money.
    The federation has advocated the development of video games to
    train first responders to deal with hazard materials situations and
    approached Carnegie Mellon to see if the concept would work.
    "Many of them are highly addictive," Howell said. "They do a
    good job of training someone at a level and testing them and there
    is good feedback. Generally you know if you have done something
    right or wrong."
    ---
    On the Net:
    Hazmat:Hotzone Web site: http://www.etc.cmu.edu/projects/hazmat/
    Federation of American Scientists:
    http://www.fas.org/main/home.jsp
    International Association of Fire Chiefs:
    http://www.iafc.org/home/index.asp
    Proudly serving as the IACOJ Minister of Information & Propoganda!
    Be Safe! Lookouts-Awareness-Communications-Escape Routes-Safety Zones

    *Gathering Crust Since 1968*
    On the web at www.section2wildfire.com

  2. #2
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    Default

    hmm...thats kinda cool

  3. #3
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    Awesome idea!
    2005 Pontiac Wave 5 Hatch
    Pontiac... built for drivers

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