Paramedics in Florida Using VR for Training

Paramedics, Firefighters and other emergency services personnel must go through vigorous training before they head out into the field to save lives. Even then, however, those men and women can be shocked by the experience. Using virtual reality (VR) is perhaps one way to tackle this problem.

Firefighters in Palm Beach, Florida have added a VR device to the list of tools that can be used when training new firefighters for what they will face. The VR device joins the full-staffed lab equipped with training devices, such as training mannequins that have a pulse, blink, breathe and respond to questions.

“They are much more calm in the field because they’ve seen it already,” explained Chief Cory Bessette, “It is so realistic and it puts you in that scenario where there is a little bit of stress, where you’re sweating a little bit and you’re trying to work through the scenario.”

“You literally want to suck them into a scenario so everything else is out and they’re taking care of that patient at that time,” commented EMS Coordinator Lou Steinberg. The VR headset was provided as a donation from the community, which, as Bessette points out, is comprised of the same people who will benefit by having emergency services personnel who are ready for any scenario.

Firefighters who are going through the VR training are not warned what the training experience will feature, so those who put on the headset do not know what to expect in order to make the experience as realistic and immersive as possible.

“You feel like you’re really standing in that room when you’re in the virtual reality world,” commented Lt. Ryan Winkelman upon trying the VR training experience.

The Palm Beach firefighters join NASA astronauts, doctors and sports teams in using VR to enhance training.

VRFocus will continue to report on us of VR for training and education.