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Developing the Virtual Reality Fire Suppression Module and Learning Fire Safety in the Workplace

Effective, memorable fire suppression training can be the difference between catastrophic damage or a minor incident. In a three year period, 3,340 office fires caused over $112 million in property damage. According to a National Fire Protection Association report, between 2015-2019, a quarter of all reported structural fires occurred in homes. Knowing what to do in a fire emergency, especially how to properly use a fire extinguisher, is critical information everyone should know.

Producer Steve Scholz saw virtual reality as a way to simulate the dangers of a fire emergency without having to train people by setting real life fires, cutting the hazards of smoke inhalation, out of control fires, and extinguisher dust inhalation.

Why do you think developing this VR training is so important?

Steve Scholz:

Virtual reality training is much more cost effective and safe than an in-person lesson. This allows hands-on training without having to light a fire, buy equipment, and alert local fire departments of the training. It saves people from inhaling smoke or fire extinguisher expellant.

What was the process of making this simulation?

Steve: A lot of reading and research! We also consulted with a former fire station chief. He really enlightened us in how fires spread and how quickly they can spread! I now sleep with my door closed and recommend everyone do the same, it can save your life in case of fire.

Why was the training set in a kitchen?

Steve: The training was set in a kitchen because it's a very common place fires can begin due to the amount of electricity, gas, and fire that is all in one small space. The kitchen could be close to your real world breakroom. The leading cause of home structure fires have been caused by cooking. So a kitchen makes the most sense.

What makes VR training better than a classroom/ lecture in this scenario?

Steve: Virtual reality immerses a person into whatever they are doing. The ability to do this in a training situation is so effective because you have real-world experience and know exactly what to do in a crisis situation. You are essentially building muscle memory for an emergency, so if the time comes you can react confidently and effectively. The lesson in VR is more responsive and can be more memorable than a lecture or slide show. Plus, simulating a fire saves people from starting a real-life controlled fire. But you can retain that sense of urgency. With our fire suppression VR module, we've had users stumble backwards and try to run away.

The FreeRangeXR virtual reality fire suppression module was recently adapted for use on the Oculus Quest. If you're ready to start your journey into immersive learning using virtual reality and augmented reality, just click here to contact us.

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