Fire inspection simulator
The Emergency Services Academy Finland has developed a virtual, computer-assisted fire inspection simulator that promotes the teaching of accident prevention. The basic idea behind the simulator is, with the help of photographs, to allow students to conduct a fire inspection by moving around inside a modelled building from room to room or inspect the outside of the building and make observations on matters from the perspective of a fire inspection, a risk survey, a risk assessment or fire safety education. If they so wish, the learners can also use the simulator to examine the risks they have observed or e.g. the specifics of technical installations.
From a pedagogical viewpoint, the fire inspection simulator can be considered as a learning game, in which the learner can improve or test their competence and as though competing with himself/herself in successfully carrying out a virtual fire inspection. As a learning game it resembles a simulation game.
The FireStudio simulation software, which has been in use for quite some time in the instruction of rescue operation command, is the platform on which the fire inspection application is built. In the fire inspection simulator an effort is made to use the image base of the accident prevention instruction team in the virtual world.
Related to the instruction of fire inspections, structural fire safety and technical fire prevention systems, the instruction team of accident prevention has a digital photo image base comprising more than 2,000 photos, which can be used in the FireStudio program to build different adjustable model buildings for virtual fire inspections. Photo chains can be used in the FireStudio simulation software to model buildings, in which a student can move around and observe details, carry out a fire inspection either supervised or independently and simultaneously fill in e.g. an electronic fire inspection report through the online learning environment Moodle.
The fire inspection simulator can be used for the prevention of accidents in the instruction of all basic vocational studies and further training with regard to fire inspections, safety education and training, and technical fire protection devices. The simulator helps improve the students’ fire inspection routine and risk observation skills, as well as allows them independently test what they have learned. One of our future visions and challenges is the idea of organising adaptable, real-time skills tests in the simulator. In these skills tests the teacher could change the simulated environment even during the test along with the learner’s actions.
One of our visions for the future is also the integration of instruction concerning fire safety, fire inspections and command of rescue operations in the FireStudio simulator in a way that they are integrated in the real working world. In this way, the student will get a sense for the fire safety solutions in the modelled building by studying the blueprints of the building and the building itself with the help of the simulator. Also, the student will get a sense of the target-specific knowledge of the building during the virtual fire inspection round. After this the student can use the information gathered during the inspection in an exercise of rescue operation command in the same building.