Allan Hardy, vice president of ITA's homeland security division, said development of such software programs could be modified for use by smaller fire jurisdictions that lack the time and money to send their personnel for specialized instruction.
For New York City, ITA
may first develop an interactive program based on the battalion chief's course, which is taught several times a year.Within it, 15 scenarios , including those involving hazardous materials and commercial and high-rise building fires , are taught through more traditional means, Hardy
"In other words, they present it in the classroom, they talk about it, then they show a picture of the building and say how would we respond to this and they talk through it," he
"Whereas if you built it with a virtual environment, you could have fire trucks arrive on the scene, you could position them on the left side of the building, the right side of the building, you could run the hose this way, you could see the results of that decision," Hardy
said."And maybe it was the best decision or maybe it wasn't the best decision, and you could see the fire being abated or perhaps not being abated or perhaps, worst case, it gets worse on you."
As users make certain decisions, the virtual scenario , which could run 15 to 20 minutes, a critical time period from the initial notification of a fire , would adapt.For example, virtual people would tell users they saw a child inside the burning building or that a flammable substance is stored on the second floor."You would get information as the scenario unfolds and you [would] have to make a decision on what you want to do," said Hardy, a retired military colonel and former adviser to senior Pentagon officials.
"Do you send someone in for the kid, or maybe it was an unconfirmed report of a child and that's where the most intense flames are."
"It's really a decision-support tool and a mentoring tool so that people can work through this and then based on decisions they make, they get feedback," he