Virtual reality used for fire scenarios


TUSCALOOSA, Ala. (WIAT) – Tuscaloosa Fire and Rescue Service hosted it’s annual Fire Expo, Monday evening, in accordance with National Fire Prevention Week.

“For the past three years we’ve had zero fire fatalities,” explained Holly Whigham, Fire and Life Safety Educator with Tuscaloosa Fire and Rescue, “and we like to contribute that to the work that we do try to prevent those from happening–the education that we give the community. Sadly, we did have one fire fatality last week from a cooking fire.”

JaMarreo Lykes, 29, was killed at Copper Creek apartments on Thursday. His friends described him as the life of the party, and that he always had a big smile. Fire officials hope that educational events like Monday’s expo can help families develop their own protocol for what they would do in the event of a fire, while also showing them all of the different jobs that firefighters fulfill in their communities.

One of the exhibits on display came from Madison Fire and Rescue in North Alabama. It’s a virtual reality trailer, which according to a press release from Tuscaloosa Fire and Rescue Service is, “the first in the U.S. to be used in the fire service. It allows children and adults to experience different fire scenarios through virtual reality and educates them on how to safely put out or escape a fire.”

“When people do this in VR, if they’re ever placed within a real-life situation, now they’ve been there,” explained Cpt. Michael Sedlacek, with Community Risk Reduction at Madison Fire and Rescue. “They know what to do, or at least, can help formulate a plan on what to do.”

For more information on National Fire Prevention Week, click here.

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