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Firefighters add digital simulator to real-world training in Maple Ridge

Virtual reality added to ‘real-world’ environments at JI campus
Firefighters train at the Justice Institute of B.C.’s Maple Ridge campus. (Contributed)

Would-be firefighters are adding digital exercises to their training, but the Justice Institute of BC says its Maple Ridge campus will remain a busy place.

Fire investigation training has taken a digital step forward with the JIBC developing a new gamified learning experience to prepare students to investigate fires.

The new fire investigation simulator, dubbed FlashoVR, offers students training scenarios in a 3D video game format. This gives them the chance to learn and practise their investigation skills, including collecting evidence and applying critical assessment and decision-making skills.

Sarah Wareing, JIBC’s Dean, School of Public Safety said the Maple Ridge training campus will still be a busy place.

“The hands-on, experiential training we offer is an essential part of our firefighter training and our Maple Ridge campus is where that happens,” she said.

“The gamified training tool for teaching fire investigation skills is an additional resource for a specific area of study. There are several advantages of the tool, including allowing students to practise their skills repeatedly before participating in a live simulation at the Maple Ridge campus.

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She added that boots-on-the-ground training at the Maple Ridge will continue as usual.

“High-quality firefighter training requires investment in real-world environments like those found at JIBC’s Maple Ridge campus, where burn buildings, mock train derailments and vehicle collisions are used for life-saving training,” said Charlene Jordan-Jones, director of JIBC’s Fire and Safety Division.

“Technology-based simulations like FlashoVR support our unique hands-on learning model.”

The simulation program allows smaller groups of students to get real-world training in an environment that mimics real-world situations. The ability to offer the program online will also increase the accessibility of the training to students anywhere in the world.

Students of the graduate-level program at the Centre for Digital Media developed the program in partnership with JIBC’s Fire & Safety Division and Centre for Teaching, Learning and Innovation (CTLI), and subject matter experts from District of North Vancouver Fire and Rescue Services (DNVFRS).

The award-winning tool has been piloted and will be used in future offerings of JIBC’s FIRE-1270 Fire Cause and Origin 1 course.

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Neil Corbett

About the Author: Neil Corbett

I have been a journalist for more than 30 years, the past decade with the Maple Ridge-Pitt Meadows News.
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