Fire emergency training is an important safety consideration in almost any work environment, from industrial facilities that handle flammable materials to the ordinary office. In the event of a fire, your organization needs people who have the knowledge and training to respond effectively and a level head to carry out the proper procedures calmly and effectively. However, training your staff with these skills and keeping them refreshed and ready to act in a crisis on top of their usual job responsibilities can be challenging. Virtual learning experiences are the ideal solution to this problem.
Practice Makes Perfect
Real-world fire safety training may only give trainees only a small number of opportunities to use a fire extinguisher against a fire. This may be enough to pass a certification shortly after completing training but might not be enough for staff to remember the correct procedure in a crisis.
Virtual experiences provide a way for employees to refresh their fire safety learning regularly with quick exercises that only take a few minutes out of their week. With no additional costs associated with frequent training sessions, you can train more people and improve the effectiveness of that training.
Repetition is essential for learning any physical skills, especially when you need people to act instinctively in a stressful situation. The ongoing fire safety training that VR can provide will help staff to keep a level head, assess the problem, and follow the appropriate procedures in the event of a real fire at work.
Virtual reality has been shown by numerous studies to significantly improve practical skills and adherence to correct procedure. For example, a 2019 study of medical students using VR learning were able to complete surgical procedures 20% faster than students trained without VR. They also followed the correct procedures 38% more accurately than their peers.
Learn The Characteristics of Each Fire Extinguisher
Virtual reality is a valuable tool for teaching trainees the differing characteristics of each type of fire extinguisher in your workplace, taking trainees step-by-step through the correct operating procedure for each extinguisher.
Furthermore, custom-built VR training modules can replicate the exact type and behavior of the fire extinguishers and other equipment in your workplace. Besides helping them remember how to operate each type, this gives employees a more intuitive sense of aiming the extinguisher, the correct distance to use it from, and the spray pattern to expect from it.
Simulate Workplace Fire Scenarios
For obvious reasons, employees cannot train by fighting real fires in the workplace. However, there can be a lot of workplace-specific information and training that they need to learn, such as the types of fire that can occur in an area, the locations of fire extinguishers, and evacuation routes.
With virtual reality fire training, companies can select from a multitude of premade environments or have an accurate model of their actual workplace built into the software. As a result, trainees can learn all location-specific information as part of their practical training. For example, a training module that teaches fire extinguisher operating procedures could also start by asking trainees to locate the nearest correct extinguisher for the situation.
Industry-Specific Fire Scenarios
A custom-designed VR training package can simulate a specific work environment and include prop replicas of specialized firefighting equipment. This can be useful in helping staff learn to overcome fire safety scenarios that are specific to an industry or profession. For example, the Belgian Navy uses a VR learning solution as part of their training to fight fires on naval vessels. In addition to simulating the limited visibility of an enclosed space filled with smoke, the training package also enables multiple users to work as a team. It includes all of the tools staff would use in a real scenario, such as thermal imaging cameras.
Similarly, Shell uses virtual reality to safely practice fighting fires in emergency situations such as burning overspill on a gasoline storage tanker. These types of scenarios are dangerous and expensive to simulate in real life, and repeated exposure to airborne toxins created by the fire pose a health risk to trainees and instructors alike.
Reporting to Assess Procedure and Support Certification
Virtual reality is a useful tool for imparting skills and knowledge to trainees and assessing their learning and competence in fire safety. VR training modules can provide detailed metrics on each trainee’s progress through an exercise and their performance during testing and assessment. This information will help instructors to spot where trainees are going wrong and correct small mistakes that might be missed in a group learning environment.
As a result, VR learning can streamline the fire safety certification process by both teaching and testing all of the knowledge and competence needed to pass certification.
Virtual Reality Makes Fire Safety Training Safer and More Effective
There are numerous benefits for virtual reality in learning and retaining any practical skill and knowledge. When it comes to situations that can be dangerous or costly to emulate in the real world however, VR can be an even more vital tool. It not only reduces the cost and danger of learning and refreshing skills, but in doing so enables more frequent training sessions.
To learn more about how virtual reality can improve fire safety at your workplace, get in touch with us to book a demonstration.