Iceland’s capital fire and rescue service is the first metropolitan emergency service in Scandinavia who are using Virtual Reality (VR) to train its firefighters. Greater Reykjavik District Fire and Rescue Service are participating in the Research Project “VR Effect”. In Project VR Effect, fire and rescue services and research centers work together to research if VR technology can be used to better train firefighters.
“I must say, I am very impressed by VR”, says Birgir Finnsson, deputy chief in Reykjavik. “When I see my firefighters using the VR training system it looks like they are moving around in a real fire scene. The VR system simulates the heat and the strong force a firefighter feels when holding a nozzle.” Finnsson continues. “We should wait for the research outcomes but I think VR will stay as a training tool because it’s safer and healthier than training in a real fire. It also gives the opportunity to do the exact same exercise again and again, learn by your mistake and to better next time.”
A total of 140 firefighters have been trained by Finnsson’s training team in Reykjavik over the past 2 months. Martijn Boosman, project coordinator of Project VR Effect is very happy with this large number of students in Iceland. “Every student is asked to fill in a questionnaire before and one after the VR training. Research becomes stronger if more research data is collected so we are very happy with the number of students Reykjavik are training with VR.”
Project VR Effect is a “triple helix” collaboration project between Academic Institutions, Training End Users and Industry. The research in Reykjavik is based on the research methodology from Prof. Ilona Heldal and Ms. Cecilia Hammar Wijkmark at the Western Norway University of Applied Sciences (Høgskulen på Vestlandet). Project VR Effect is coordinated by VR Support Center Europe.
During the research, Reykjavik District Fire and Rescue Service have been using the FLAIM Trainer VR training system which was supplied to them by Trifire Denmark who are the Scandinavian distributor for FLAIM.
This article was originally published on LinkedIn by the team at XR Support Center Europe.