Firefighters get Virtual Reality training

by L&D07 Jul 2017
In recent times, numerous organisations have turned to Virtual Reality to boost their training initiatives.

Some of these organisations include Walmart, BMW and Singapore Airlines, which have come to see that using this technology can negate the need for off-site training modules and lengthy courses.
A recent study revealed that that 91% of L&D professionals are planning to use VR for learning in their organisation, with more than a third planning to roll out VR over the following three years.

A whopping 95% of respondents said they see VR as being useful for enhancing L&D, while just 8% feel VR is ‘just hype’. Further, 81% think it has ‘real potential’ for learning, and another 11% are calling VR the ‘next big thing’.

Now, a Netherlands-based virtual reality (VR) training start-up, Parable, has developed a VR firefighting training program to improve safety in the maritime industry.

The idea behind the program was to help staff working at the busy Port of Rotterdam to carry out simulated exercises for patrol vessels in charge of chemical firefighting at the port.

Sam Ryan, co-founder of Parable, told Port Strategy that this means staff can train more often and more efficiently to improve their level of operational readiness.

“Anything that's technically complex, expensive to operate or just plain dangerous is a good base for doing the training in virtual reality because you can do it an unlimited number of times,” he said.

“You can train in a very safe environment because it's not actually real and it's more cost effective to do.”

Created by Ryan and Parable’s other co-founders, John Heukers and Octavian Nasul, the training can be completed with single player observational learning, as well as asymmetric and symmetric multiplayer learning.

Focused on training companies that service and repair or operate industrial equipment, Parable is also currently working with an offshore company to provide virtual reality training for its offshore cargo lifting requirements.

“Dredgers, lifting equipment, LNG storage systems, can be dangerous, technically complex and involves using expensive equipment,” Ryan said.

“The people that operate these vessels and the equipment on them need to be highly trained and not just for day to day operations but for all the types of risks and scenarios that can happen that you don't want to have.

“Doing that kind of training in virtual reality will become even more interesting for a whole range of companies in the port and other places.”

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