Those over 30000 CFA volunteer firefighters will soon have access to the latest virtual reality fire fighting training A tailor-made training package is under development

CFA CEO Jason Heffernan said the technology would help meet CFA’s top priority – the safety of people – whether volunteers, employees, or the public

“Accurate risk awareness is key to fire-fighting safety. It is at the heart of any fire-fighting,” he said

“For the past 20 years, CFA has been a leader in computer-based learning for operational skills and in enhancing people’s natural ability to perceive risks in the field

“But we are always looking for more innovative ways to help our volunteers, which is why we are developing virtual reality fire fighting training

“The original concept came from our volunteers themselves – a way of giving volunteers the opportunity to assess their skills in ‘real life’ without putting them at risk”

FLAIM Trainer and FLAIM Extinguisher are unique training systems specially developed for firefighters by the Geelong-based technology company FLAIM Systems together with researchers from Deakin University

James Mullins, FLAIM Systems chief technology officer and CFA volunteer, said the FLAIM trainer worked in a similar fashion to a flight simulator for pilot training, but was designed specifically for firefighters

“It combines virtual reality technology with real industry standard devices such as a fire nozzle, a breathing apparatus, a hose reel, and automated sensory devices such as a fire suit warming suit to simulate both the visual and the sensory feelings of being in a fire” he said

“In addition to the virtual reality headset, the volunteers have the opportunity to participate in a growing library of different scenarios – from house fires and grass fires to airplane fires”

FLAIM Systems is a Victorian start-up company with 18 employees and a growing customer base in 25 countries that is known worldwide for its FLAIM trainer training

Initially, CFA will acquire five FLAIM Trainer and 10 FLAIM Extinguisher systems, which will be kept in its state logistics center but will be used nationwide for training after their launch this year

“CFA volunteers from across Victoria piloted the FLAIM trainer for six months to see if it met our operational requirements. The feedback from members has been very positive,” said Chief Officer Heffernan


World News – AU – CFA welcomes the future of fire fighting training