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Virtual Training Tool Allows First Responders To Train Across Jurisdictions and Disciplines

NCJ Number
Michele Coppola
Date Published
November 2017
3 pages
This article explains the features and benefits of a free virtual training tool that enables first responders from different disciplines to train together for critical incidents, using game-based software.
The development of the Enhanced Dynamic Geo-Social Environment (EDGE) tool was funded by the U.S. Department of Homeland Security Science and Technology Directorate and the U.S. Army Research Laboratory, with input from first responders. Launched in June 2017, it enables users to assume discipline-based avatars and role-play complex response scenarios. Responders manipulate their avatars as they would in a real emergency according to their agency policies. Users must have internet capability and a desktop or laptop computer with a dedicated video card. EDGE software has a training component that enables users to become familiar with the system. The first scenario developed consists of an active-shooter incident at a 26-story hotel. Users can create whatever scenario they want in the hotel environment. Public areas, elevators, and rooms are rendered in realistic detail. A second scenario that involves a school environment is being developed. A single agency can train its staff, or multiple law enforcement, fire, and emergency medical service agencies across jurisdictions can use the tool in combined sessions. The scenarios include dispatch, fire, and law enforcement communication channels.