FAAC’s fire truck driver training simulator supports simple-to-complex, individual and team training. The levels of this platform’s-based training are increasingly diverse and challenging, and broadly range from basic driving skills, through emergency response scenarios and then up to a higher level of emergency response scenarios occurring with critical incidents and taking place “on the fly,”, according to Chuck Deakins, a subject matter specialist and Training Group Lead at FAAC.
The simulation and training company uses scenario-based training to support learning audiences using this simulator. The community expert further explained that FAAC creates its scenarios asking two, high-level questions – first, what are all the skills it takes for an engineer (driver), firefighter, or volunteer to get into the vehicle, and get it safely responding to an emergency from Point A to the situation?
He noted, “The diverse skills may include scan and assess, presence and awareness, and attitude while driving and operating a vehicle.” FAAC further asks, “what are you trying to multi-manage during your responses?” These follow-ons, separate tasks may include operating lights and sirens, and following policies and procedures, use of the radio and incident communications. Deakins continued, “And suddenly – the simple task of driving an apparatus from Points A to B becomes super complicated – much more than most people recognize and understand. We try to impact the low frequency, but high liability scenario, as well as the higher frequency, but lower (liability) impact scenario and situation.”
In an additional strategy that resonates well with crew and team training occurring in the military, civil aviation, medical and other sectors, FAAC uses a firefighter’s continuum of training to move beyond basic driving skills for the engineer and includes the truck’s officer in the right-hand cab seat.
Deakins explained this team training dynamic continues to when the truck arrives on the scene, the engineer “sets up” the truck as in real life and exits to train on the Pump-Ops pump panel simulator. He added, “The officer in the right seat also exits the vehicle and moves to the ‘In Command’ Incident Command and Control training simulator. Now they are both working the scene. This whole event is taking place with both interacting within the same event. This is high-level simulation training that is very difficult to create on the ground. This meets another goal of providing a controlled response to an emergency situation.”
This fire truck simulator offers another capability of increasing importance in the high-risk community training enterprise – the after-action review (AAR). For this program, the AAR begins at the original radio call for first response and continues with a focus on the engineer’s driving performance (speed, selected route, on-scene vehicle placement, and other criteria). The FAAC training leader pointed out the AAR, along with a virtual instructor called VITALS, allows the student to see themselves as others see them, and emphasized, “That is really where the learning occurs – at that point.”
AAR is an important capability of the other two products as we’ll read later.
FAAC’s fire truck simulator has been delivered to the Fire Department of New York and departments in other large US cities, and state fire academies. The platform is further configured as a mobile, deployable system, providing on-demand training to smaller, widely dispersed fire departments in a region.
Deakins added, “We also have this simulator in Qatar, in South America, and many other nations around the world. And the US Air Force also has our fire truck simulator and other Continuum-of-Training products.”
The OEM is looking to continue enhancing this training platform with advanced VR headsets, hand-held radios, and other hardware and software. Deakins concluded, “We want to maximize technology, through the application of training.”
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