Driving Simulator Placed in Service for Kissimmee, FL, Firefighters

March 29, 2024
Kissimmee Deputy Fire Chief Joe Leone said new firefighters may have limited driving experience and this allows them to learn before using an expensive vehicle.

Firefighters in Kissimmee now have a driving simulator to help members get comfortable behind the wheel of large vehicles before they hit the streets in one of the city's fire apparatus or ambulances. 

“It’s very authentic to what a real fire engine would look like,” Deputy Chief Joe Leone told WESH.com. “With the instructor sitting over here, what he will do, is he will design different scenarios based on the needs of that individual student and his history of driving."

Leone said the drivers will encounter numerous scenarions, including driving during the night and day with various weather scenarios. The instructors can also add in pedestrians, vehicles that force the emergency vehicle driver to react quickly.

One scenario simulates a flat tire on the emergency vehicle. 

Leone said it's important to use the simulator before putting his firefighters at the wheel of an expensive resources. 

“We have new firefighters that come on that are less than 21 years of age, maybe 6, 7 months ago, working at a fast food restaurant and now they’re driving an ambulance rescue with lights and sirens and I don’t think it’s fair to them to be put in that situation so quickly, with just X amount of hours of on the road training," he said. 

The $200,000 technology will be expanded for other vehicles in the city's fleet.

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