Working with five major urban fire departments, a team from New York University (NYU) Tandon School of Engineering is building new knowledge on modern residential firefighting into game-based online simulations with an engaging, dynamic format.
The residential-fire module is funded bya two-year, $1.5 million grant from the Department of Homeland Security’s (DHS) Assistance to Firefighters Grant (AFG) program. The grant will also fund development of mobile applications and a module aimed at preventing sudden cardiovascular events, the leading cause of line-of-duty deaths among firefighters.
Helping to develop the residential-fire training module are the New York Fire Department, Chicago Fire Department, Los Angeles County Fire Department, Houston Fire Department, and Bloomington (Minnesota) Fire Department, as well as experts from the Underwriters Laboratory.
“Like previous training modules developed by the NYU Tandon Fire Research Group,” NYU said in an announcement, “the free interactive training will quickly and widely disperse accurate information to departments across the country.
Residential fires will be the next training module in a system called Advanced Learning through Integrated Visual Environments (ALIVE), created by NYU’S Tandon Fire Research Group under the leadership of Mechanical Engineering Professor Sunil Kumar.
ALIVE is a research-based online interactive training program that will provide new sessions on fire dynamics, fighting fires in buildings constructed using modern lightweight materials and training for urban high rises in which wind is a particular risk.
More than 50,000 firefighters from all 50 states have used previous training modules developed for ALIVE, and the program has been adopted by more than 800 fire departments.
"ALIVE is an efficient, effective way to share crucial information among our nation’s firefighters, a majority of whom are part-time or volunteer and lack the time and resources to seek additional training," said Prabodh Panindre, an NYU senior research scientist.
"Research shows that using ALIVE, which has an engaging, game-like format, helps firefighters retain the critical safety information taught in trainings, and we’re grateful to have the opportunity to expand the program offerings," said Richard Elliot Wener, aprofessor of environmental psychology in the Department of Technology, Culture and Society at NYU Tandon.
"The ALIVE training has allowed our firefighters to benefit from recent research on subjects in the fire service," said Ulysses Seal, chief of the Bloomington Fire Department. "Without this online training, dissemination of this knowledge would be delayed, as we would have to wait for outside instructors to bring the information to the department."
"Firefighters cannot train using live fire on a daily, weekly, or even a monthly basis—it’s impractical and too costly," said Derek Alkonis, director of training for the Los Angeles County Fire Department. "However, firefighters need to understand how fires behave in structures and how assessing fire, heat, smoke, and flow path can help them make better strategic and tactical decisions. Programs like ALIVE give us opportunities to make mistakes without having to suffer real-life consequences."
NYU said, “The forthcoming health module will focus on minimizing cardiovascular risks caused in part by the combination of high stress, hostile temperatures and conditions and heavy protective equipment.”
It will also “train firefighters to understand the physiological strains of firefighting duties, the factors that increase their risk of sudden cardiovascular events, and evidence-based measures that may lessen the likelihood of a cardiac event during or immediately following emergency operations.”
To develop the cardiac health module, the NYU Tandon Fire Research Group is partnering with the fire departments in Bloomington, Chicago and New York, along with experts from Skidmore College and the Illinois Fire Service.
Researchers said they plan to roll out the new ALIVE modules over the next two years.
Fire departments interested in ALIVE training may contact the NYU Fire Research Group at email@example.com. More information is available at http://engineering.nyu.edu/fire.