Security & Counter Terror Expo 2016 to provide knowledge for protecting nations and assets
Security & Counter Terror Expo will provide valuable knowledge to those tasked with protecting nations and assets

Over recent years the threat of terrorism has increased exponentially and today terrorist activity is undertaken on an almost a daily basis. In 2015 alone, there were more than 380 recorded terrorist attacks by violent non-state actors for political or unknown motives.

These attacks are now wide reaching and intercontinental. The Nigerian government is just one example, it has been combating the ever increasing Boko Haram insurgency for over a decade, while elsewhere the undercurrent of political instability in the Middle East continues to be a breeding ground for both Al-Qaeda and the so-called Islamic State.

Yet the advent of global terrorism has not been exclusive to war-torn and typically unstable nations. Over the past 12 months, Europe has played host to some of the deadliest attacks in its history. Paris has been the epicentre of terror activity with Islamic extremists carrying out a series of co-ordinated attacks at six locations, including the Stade de France stadium and the Bataclan Theatre in central Paris.

The threat is constantly evolving and is currently at a significantly high level worldwide. Following recent events in Europe, the issue of national security and counter terrorism is now firmly at the top of government agendas.

Returning to Olympia, London from 19 – 20 April 2016, Security & Counter Terror Expo, will help nations improve border control, critical national infrastructure protection, cyber security, major events, offender management, policing and counter terrorism, and the emergency services. It will showcase the latest cutting-edge technology and provide those tasked with protecting nations and assets with valuable knowledge through a series of conference sessions.

David Thompson, Event Director, said: “The recent global events have reminded us that the security can’t be taken for granted. Targets are becoming more diverse, as are the methods employed by those that seek to do us harm.

“With the safety of millions of people on their minds, security professionals have an increasingly important role to play as the threat evolves. Security & Counter Terror Expo 2016 is aligned with the Home Office’s seven security capabilities and will offer industry experts the perfect platform to source the latest technology, discuss important issues with likeminded peers and hear from the leading voices in security and counter terror policy.”

Innovation at Security & Counter Terror Expo

The exhibition has established itself as an international hub where the industry elite come together to identify the security sector’s most significant innovations and new product launches.

Security & Counter Terror Expo 2016 will showcase a wide range of product innovations from more than 240 exhibitors, including those supplying the latest in high security fencing, cybersecurity modelling, simulation and training platforms, surveillance control systems and drone technology. Geoquip, CLD Fencing, NEC, Aselsan and Jacksons Fencing are among the major multinational companies to already confirm their presence at 2016 show and will join more than 50 new exhibitors offering cutting edge services and security solutions to the industry.

This year visitors will find a number of exciting product launches. Having recently successfully completed 8.5km of security fencing and associated gates at the Eurotunnel Terminal, Coquelles, France, Jacksons Fencing will launch its full range of LPS 1175 SR1 - SR5 security rated fencing systems on stand K40.

Peter Jackson, CEO of Jacksons Fencing, commented: “Security & Counter Terror Expo acts as a broad and direct communication channel to one of our key markets, allowing us to engage with prospects, as well as existing clients. It is a great platform for us to showcase our latest innovations and provides us with a great insight into what’s happening in the security sector – all under one roof.”

Lincoln Security will be launching its latest range of locks, eLOQ, on stand C82. The devices are electronic and contain no wiring or batteries allowing them to be deployed anywhere, instantly. The solution also features unique electronic keys that can be programmed to open locks based on time and date restrictions, while also providing a full audit report of who has unlocked the eLOQ.

Also confirmed, HGH Systèmes Infrarouges will showcase its wide area surveillance systems, for critical infrastructure protection, based on its award-winning 360-degree thermal camera, the SPYNEL, and its automatic intrusion detection and tracking software, CYCLOPE. Speaking about the decision to return to Security & Counter Terror Expo 2016, Gildas Chauvel, Marketing Manager, said: “We are able to meet high level, influential security professionals who specialise in protecting critical national infrastructure and homeland security and the show affords us the opportunity to discuss our solutions with potential new customers.”

Discussing new strategies to tackle terrorism

With counter terrorism firmly in the spotlight, more than 400 security professionals from across the globe will attend the high-level paid-for World Counter Terror Congress, from 19 – 20 April 2016. Reflecting the international nature of the exhibition, the Congress will feature speakers from national, international and supranational institutions.

The World Counter Terror Congress will feature six sessions, covering policy and strategy responses to the changing terror threat; radicalisation, de-radicalisation and preventing radicalisation; geopolitical security briefings; encryption, communications and security; security for critical national infrastructure; and emerging terror networks and tactics.

Focusing on the four key areas outlined in UK government’s CONTEST strategy, the congress will be opened by John Hayes MP, the UK’s Minister for Security. As the person ultimately responsible for the country’s counter-terrorism, security, serious organised crime and cyber-crime strategies, he will deliver a speech on extremism, border security and international counter terror strategy.

A total of 29 high ranking officials and academics will lead the congress, providing invaluable trends and information. The leading security professionals are set to discuss a variety of topics such as extremism, border security and the UK’s international counter terror strategy. Covering current counter terror and security tactics, extremist propaganda, and the expansion of ISIS it is not to be missed.

Cyber security takes centre stage

Following the recent increase in cyber threats, Chancellor George Osborne pledged that the UK will spend £1.9bn over the next five years to deliver a series of initiatives to protect the economy and infrastructure, grow cyber companies, and deter adversaries.

Security & Counter Terror Expo will mirror these advances in the industry, showcasing cutting-edge technology and exploring the latest cyber security strategies at the free-to-attend Cyber Threat Intelligence Conference. Starting on April 19th, leading figures will discuss the latest solutions and strategies at the two-day conference. Presented by techUK, the representative body for the UK’s technology industry, the sessions will bring together all those who work to prevent cyber terrorism and crime.

Among the topics to be discussed will be an overview of global cyber security threats and how to mitigate against them, protecting the “smart” critical infrastructure and overcoming the cyber security skills shortage.

Key speakers will include Chris Gibson, Director at CERT-UK; Richard Parris, Chairman and Chief Executive of Intercede; Prof. Chris Hankin, Director at the Institute for Security Science and Technology; and representatives from the National Crime Agency’s National Cyber Crime Unit.

Talal Rajab, Programme Manager for techUK's Cyber, National Security and Criminal Justice programmes, added: “What was once considered a niche area in the wider national security debate has emerged front and centre in many government's priorities. Security & Counter Terror Expo offers the ideal platform for the industry to learn from some of the most prominent figures, while networking with key decision makers.”

Protecting critical national infrastructure

In addition to safeguarding the digital frontier, security professionals are tasked with the protection of critical national infrastructure (CNI). Terrorist groups continue to not only threaten civilians, but also communications networks, the emergency services, energy plants, financial institutions, governments, health services, transport links and natural resources.

The Critical National Infrastructure & Business Reliance conference will aim to aid public and private entities to identify, assess, prioritise, and protect critical infrastructure and key resources. Allowing them to detect, prevent, deter, devalue, and mitigate deliberate efforts to destroy, incapacitate or exploit a nation’s CNI.

The conference will feature a series of presentations examining the policy and strategy responses to today’s terror threat. Leading figures will discuss the latest advances in the protection of critical national infrastructure in Europe, staff responses to extreme events and the impact on national infrastructure organisations and critical information infrastructure protection in financial services.

Providing invaluable insight and information, more than 20 high ranking officials and academics will feature during the conference. Representatives from the likes of the National Counter Terrorism Policing HQ, the Home Office Centre for Applied Science & Technology (CAST) and the Israeli Ministry of Transport will discuss a variety of topics. The lively and engaging sessions will focus on the latest advances in the protection of critical national infrastructure in Europe, staff responses to extreme events and the impact on national infrastructure organisations. The potential for UAVs in the protection of critical aviation infrastructure will also be covered.

Driving the transport security agenda

Running alongside the Critical National Infrastructure & Business Reliance and Cyber Threat Intelligence conference, the Transport Security Live will focus on discussing effective security solutions for the global transport infrastructure.

The global terror threat is high and transport networks are a favoured target. The free-to-attend Transport Security Live Conference will showcase international case studies and the latest developments in protecting transport networks, transport hubs and passengers.

The conference will bring together the key stakeholders from government, police, aviation, maritime, public transport, and rail to discover best practice, the latest solutions and developments in transport security. Comment on the importance of Peter Cook, Chief Executive Officer, of the Security Association for the Maritime Industry said: “Terrorists will stop at nothing to cause maximum damage and that includes targeting critical national and global infrastructure. Preventing these kinds of attacks has never been more essential especially as 90% of all global trade moves by sea. Events like Transport Security Live are critical as they bring together a diverse group of professionals to exchange ideas in the hope of creating a safer and smarter transport network for all”.

Cook will be joined by the likes of Dvir Rubinshtein, Manager, Aviation Security Operation Centre, Israeli Ministry of Transport; Inspector Chris Boyle, Strategic Partnerships – Prevent, National Counter Terrorism Policing HQ; and Peter Cook, CEO, Security Association for Maritime Industry.

Witness cutting edge technology

Public and private sector buyers, influencers and government delegations from across the globe will be attending Security & Counter Terror Expo to explore how the latest technology will enhance their current and future security needs.

At Advanced Technologies Live, visitors will be able to see and hear more about the latest technologies and innovative solutions that the industry has to offer through a series of live demonstrations. Attendees can view latest innovations from the likes of Canon, The Defence Science and Technology Laboratory which is part of the Ministry of Defence, CEA and Sqaurehead Technologies.

On the second day of the event, Security & Counter Terror Expo will collaborate with The UK Drone Show to showcase the latest drone technology for the first time in the show’s history. Attendees will see live demonstrations by some of the UK's top drone operators and companies. Designed to showcase the very latest in aerial and terrestrial unmanned vehicles, this new area will allow greater flexibility for product demonstrations than ever before.

Richard Wright of the UK Drone Show said: "This is a very busy and exciting year for us, and the collaboration with Clarion's Defence & Security Division brings our experience of the UAV/drone industry to a sector that will see huge benefits from this rapidly developing technology".

David Thompson, Event Director, said: “The 2016 event is set to be the best yet. The calibre of speakers at this year’s show highlights that Security & Counter Terror Expo is the place to be for security professionals from across the globe.”

Security & Counter Terror Expo 2016 is co-located with Ambition – the EPRR Expo – and Forensics Europe Expo.

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Firefighter Uniform Adapts To Cancer Risk, Active Shooter Threat
Firefighter Uniform Adapts To Cancer Risk, Active Shooter Threat

More than an outfit. More thought than one leg at a time. Putting on the uniform is not just an ordinary daily task, but a habitual part of preparing for the unexpected. Yes, a firefighter’s uniform is more than an outfit. Think about who is wearing it and the risks they are exposed to on a daily basis. The firefighter comes from a long line of heroes, a brotherhood and sisterhood, with traditions to uphold and a reputation to maintain. Their uniform is no different. Its historical navy-blue threads. Classic, professional appearance. Tactical features. Technology-driven fabric. Over time, the uniform’s engineering has needed to adapt with new designs and react to worsened exposures and more dangerous rescue missions. The 21st Century firefighter’s uniform is unique and specific to the job with current trends fixating on the best user experience while future plans focus on preventative and safety measures due to increased societal and architectural risks. Comfortable firefighter uniform So, what does the 21st Century firefighter want? Comfort. Beyond Personal Protective Equipment, it is an overwhelming plea for a more comfortable uniform to wear. This includes garments that are easy “wash and wear” materials that do not require additional ironing. Firefighters do not want to lose the professional appearance or tactical functionality of the uniform The trend calls for lightweight, breathable, cool-weather wear that is less restrictive and offers more give and more stretch so firefighters can perform their job responsibilities more efficiently. However, they do not want to lose the professional appearance or tactical functionality of the uniform. “We need something that looks presentable every time,” said Chief Robert Burdette of Grand Blanc Fire Department, Michigan. Additionally, more firefighters are also starting to wear polo shirts or mesh T-shirts under their Turnout gear, for a lighter weight, more breathable option from the traditional uniform shirt. The trend calls for lightweight, breathable, cool-weather wear that is less restrictive Risk of cancer Unfortunately, comfort is not the only concern firefighters have when it comes to uniforms, or their safety in general. As risky and demanding of a profession the fire service can be, the fires have proven not to be the most hazardous or life threatening. According to the Firefighter Cancer Support Network, “Cancer is the most dangerous threat to firefighter health and safety today.” A study conducted by the National Institute for Occupational Safety and Health (NIOSH) concluded that firefighters have a 9% increased chance of being diagnosed with cancer and a 14% increased chance to die from cancer compared to the general United States population. Chief Dennis Jenkerson of the St. Louis Fire Department in Missouri is one of many chiefs actively fighting these statistics. Responsible for 32 firehouses, Jenkerson has witnessed the reality of this threat with the loss of four of his own and understands the validity of the situation. For the last 18 months, the St. Louis Fire Department has made headway implementing a drastic culture change by evaluating everything from equipment, apparel, lifestyle and more.  Cancer affecting firefighters “It is so prevalent that everything we do anymore has to do with some emphasis on protecting firefighters from getting cancer,” said Chief Mike Ramm of Sylvania Township Fire Department, Ohio. “Cancer is the most dangerous threat to firefighter health and safety today” According to the Firefighter Cancer Support Network, the cancers that have mostly affected firefighters are respiratory (lung, mesothelioma), gastrointestinal (oral cavity, esophageal, large intestine) and kidney. “Testicular cancer is through the roof,” added Jenkerson, who has pushed his firefighters to get tested for cancers earlier than normally necessary. He also explained that the imagery of a firefighter drinking from a fire hydrant can no longer happen. He emphasized the importance of cleaning up instantly after every fire. Think of the simple act of removing grimy gloves after a call – at least one hand has been exposed to the cancerous contaminants if it was accidentally used to take off the other glove. If that unwashed, contaminated hand touches food that goes into the mouth of the firefighter, he/she is essentially eating what may cause esophageal, oral cavity or gastric cancers. Cancer is the most dangerous threat to firefighter health and safety today According to the International Association of Fire Fighters (IAFF) via the Firefighter Cancer Support Network, cancer caused 61% of the career firefighter line-of-duty deaths from January 1, 2002 to March 31, 2017. Additionally, 70% of the line-of-duty deaths for career firefighters were because of cancer in 2016. Unfortunately, this hazard is not going away any time soon. The new building materials and new house furnishings have become the culprit for this major concern. These materials are man-made and are not of natural resources. When burned, they create deadly carcinogens that the firefighters are getting exposed to firsthand. Immediate decontamination process Jenkerson’s implementation of a culture change includes an immediate decontamination process following a fire, which involves getting hosed with water, cleansing wipes for all soft tissue areas of the body and an immediate shower back at the station. “Any place you can get a five degree rise in skin temperature, the absorption level goes up 10 times,” Jenkerson warned. His firefighters are instructed to remove their bunker gear, uniform, helmet and all other equipment right away that get immediately washed once they have returned to the station. Hems, collars, cuffs and cargo pockets are areas of the uniform where toxins get caught He also restricts all firefighters and EMTs from going on a second run until they have showered and have put on a new, clean set of clothes, all the way down to their underwear. “There are no two-runs. We have to get this stuff off [of them].” Uniform manufacturers are tasked with finding a solution to help facilitate Jenkerson’s and other Fire Chiefs’ visions by designing a uniform with as little gaps and fold-over materials as possible. “Everything needs to be sealed tight,” Jenkerson explained. Hems, collars, cuffs and cargo pockets are all areas of the uniform where toxins get caught. A lightweight shirt option that offers a crew collar with a two to three button placket and a lightweight, ventilated hidden cargo pant could be the future of fire uniforms. “There isn’t another profession that has the thousands of dangers that we have every day,” Ramm explained. Additional and ongoing efforts currently underway according to the NFPA Journal, include those by the Firefighter Cancer Support Network, the Congressional Firefighter Cancer Registry, the Fire Protection Research Foundation, the FPRF Campaign for Fire Service Contamination Control, and the International Association of Firefighters. Active shooter emergency response Firefighters and EMTs increasingly need to wear bullet proof vests with the surge in active shooter calls An additional and unfortunate trend that is also sweeping the nation is the need for firefighters and EMTs to wear bullet proof vests. Departments are trying their best to arm their men and women with this protection along with ballistic helmets in certain regions due to the surge in active shooter calls. “In areas that have a lot of gang-related activity, [bullet proof vests] would be beneficial,” said Jason Reyes of Allen Fire Department, Texas. “Sometimes you go on calls when the city doesn’t have enough police to respond to calls, which creates a situation that leaves firefighters unprotected and vulnerable.” Currently the market has ballistic vests available that can either be worn over or under a firefighter’s uniform and under their bunker gear. Uniform manufacturers also offer an external vest carrier option that is worn over a firefighter’s uniform to look like part of the uniform shirt to maintain a professional appearance. Distinguishing firefighters from law enforcement “Firefighters find themselves becoming targets more and more these days,” added Deputy Chief of Operations Dwayne Jamison of Bartow County Fire Department, Georgia. “Many departments, including my own, are looking to outfit their firefighters with bullet proof vests.” Although this trend has not affected every region, industry experts can see the need becoming more widespread if threats continue to increase the way they have been. Along the same lines, firefighters want to be identified as firefighters and not mistaken for law enforcement. “We don’t want to look like police,” Jenkerson said. “We want to be identified as firefighters. Even if it takes a different stripe.” When it comes to uniform trends for firefighters, it is clear there is more to focus on than the technical details. For many fire departments, future trends could serve as a tool to prevent deadly toxins from being absorbed and from lethal bullets puncturing unprotected firefighters and EMTs. The uniform is more than an outfit. With a larger purpose than to shield a body, the uniform goes beyond the navy-blue threads, professional appearance and tactical features to one day supporting what could be a lifesaving concept. Sources Firefighter Cancer Support Network, Preventing Cancer in the Fire Service National Fire Protection Association,  Firefighters and Cancer NFPA Journal, Fast Track: Some of the national efforts underway to fight cancer in the fire service; Roman, Jesse; 2017 

How Fire Departments Use Drones To Save Lives
How Fire Departments Use Drones To Save Lives

Cost justification of drones is easy if you compare the cost with operating a helicopter Drones are an important new tool for the fire service and have already proven their ability to save lives. Willingness to embrace drones (or unmanned aerial vehicles [UAVs]) for fire applications varies widely by department, and it’s not just larger departments that are making the investment. Some smaller departments are investing in drones in a big way, even as some larger departments are reticent. Firefighting Drone Programs Departments may start with a small drone just to “try it out” and to prove its usefulness to upper management. Other departments start with a budgeted amount for their drone program and go from there. According to Matt Sloan, CEO of Skyfire Consulting, the average drone program is around $35,000 to $40,000, which provides drones, thermal imaging, cameras, operation costs – all of it. Drone programs are not covered by Assistance to Firefighters (AFG) grants, however. As little as $1,500 can buy an “eye in the sky” drone (without thermal functionality).  Sloan says the top question he used to get asked by potential customers was “How do I use this thing?” Now the top question is “How do I sell it to my chief?” Sloan has done hundreds of demonstrations of drone technology to fire departments and has never heard anyone say “I don’t see how that would be useful.” In fact, cost justification of drones is easy if you compare the cost with operating a helicopter, the closest alternative to provide comparable information. Sloan says implementing a drone program is equivalent in cost to “between 40 and 50 hours” of operating a helicopter.  “There is still a misperception that drones are toys,” says Sloan. “But people’s lives are being saved so we’re past that stage.” He compares the reception to drones in the fire service to initial resistance to the use of thermal cameras. “Now everyone has one,” he says. A drone can provide a 360-degree view of a single-family house fire within seconds Effectiveness Of Drones In Fire Applications Education is an important element in spreading the word about the effectiveness of drones for fire applications, says Sloan. A fire department might choose to implement a drone program after they experience a situation in which a drone would have been a useful asset. Drones can be helpful for hazardous materials protection, search-and-rescue, and wildfire applications. The value of a drone boils down to providing better information for decision-making. In the case of a hazardous material spill, for example, a drone can provide information much faster than it would take personnel to don hazmat garments to approach an area safely; there is also no risk to life. A drone can provide a 360-degree view of a single-family house fire within seconds. A thermal imaging camera mounted on a drone can provide instant feedback on hot spots and where the fire is moving. Some drones can drop payloads; for example, they can drop a life jacket to a swimmer or a radio to someone who is trapped. Drones can also be helpful in training, providing high-level views to document activity for evaluation after the fact.  Communication with a drone is localized between the drone and the remote control. A smart phone or tablet can be plugged into the drone’s remote to communicate images across the Internet. The remote’s HDMI output also allows a drone’s image to be displayed on a TV monitor. How To Start A Drone Program Skyfire Consulting provides a “one-stop shop” for fire and police departments seeking to start a drone program. The company helps with choosing the right equipment, performs on-site training, guides the department to obtain the needed Federal Aviation Administration (FAA) authorizations, and aids with developing standard operating procedures (SOPs) and policies. Implementation of the average drone program takes three to six months. FAA authorization to fly drones comes in two varieties. Drones can be flown under Part 107 rules for commercial use and for video production. The authorization merely requires passing a 60-question written test with a 70 percent score. The certification is good for two years and allows an operator to fly drones up to 400 feet in line-of-site, and within Class G (uncontrolled) air space. A downside is that the permit assigns liability to the operator (and a waiver may or may not be granted). Departments are buying a variety of drones in combinations of large and small Obtaining A Certificate Of Authorization The second variety of FAA authorization is a COA (Certificate of Authorization), which assigns liability to the department operating the drones. It also allows the department to self-certify their operators, perform training, and operate in some controlled air space if a waiver is granted. Earning a COA is more complicated, but offers benefits, including the ability to train new operators in a department that has turnover. Line-of-site operation is a requirement for flying any drones. Line-of-site is typically three-fourths of a mile, and drones are equipped with bright lights and anti-collision lights (visible for three nautical miles). Sloan says the FAA is generally very positive about public safety uses of drones and works with departments to get their drone programs in place. Choosing Between Small And Large Drones A popular drone manufacturer is DJI Technology, which has a dominant share of the consumer drone market. A popular model is the DJI Phantom drones, which provide 35 minutes of flight time and a good camera. For other sensors, something larger is needed. Departments are buying a variety of drones in combinations of large and small. Small drones perform tactical missions and can fly through a window, while larger drones can be equipped with thermal and/or zoom cameras. The price tags on individual drones range from $500 to $30,000 or more. Larry Anderson Editor TheBigRedGuide.com

Virtual Reality Emerging As A Training Tool In The Fire Service
Virtual Reality Emerging As A Training Tool In The Fire Service

Virtual reality (VR) is an emerging tool for training in the fire service The dangers of firefighting make it unfriendly to the concept of the learning curve. Before they put their lives on the line, firefighters should have knowledge and experience. But gaining knowledge and experience in the firefighting environment presents its own dangers. Virtual reality (VR) is an emerging tool for training in the fire service. Recreating the firefighting experience realistically in a virtual world is a useful – and safer – alternative to on-the-job training. It is also less expensive than some other training options, such as recreation of realistic fire rescue scenarios.  “For a situation when someone’s life would be in danger, a virtual reality experience can enable them to practice in the safety of their own environments,” says Michael Schreiner, Senior Director of Content for Target Solutions, which is developing VR training for firefighters. “In real life, the building would be on fire and they would have to make life-or-death decisions. With virtual reality, firefighters can make a mistake about how to attack a fire without putting themselves in danger.” Virtual Reality Firefighter Training Target Solutions, a brand of Vector Solutions, Tampa, Florida, has partnered with Pasco County (Fla.) Fire Rescue to develop a lifelike 360-degree VR “smoke reading” training course. Creating the course involved a 360-degree Virtual Reality video shoot using drone technology to film actual firefighters training in real-life simulations. The video was created with expert help from consultants and field insights from subject matter experts, fire service instructors, and paramedics. Learners using the course wear VR goggles and are immersed in a virtual environment where they will receive instruction on how to read smoke and to decide how to attack a fire based on what the smoke tells them. Reading smoke involves judging the color, volume, density and rate of rise. For example, the seat of a fire tends to produce smoke that is thick and dark and has a high rate of rise; in contrast, smoke elsewhere is a burning building might be light and wispy. Firefighters have to make split-second decisions based on the appearance of smoke, and deciding wrong can have dire consequences. Another benefit of virtual reality in training is lower costs Making Better Decisions The 12-minute-or-so smoke reading “micro-course” uses a story-based approach to emphasize the emotional elements of decision-making. Schreiner says people learn best when emotions are tied into the learning. Elements of the training scenario include exposition, rising action, a crisis and a resolution. Unrelenting “heartbeat” sounds promote a sense of urgency. The course then evaluates whether a learner made the right decision. The course can be practiced over and over. The idea is for firefighters to develop “muscle memory” to make better decisions under pressure in a real situation. Vector Solutions chose shooting a video for a real-world effect over computer-generated graphics, which are more expensive but less realistic. For the video training, smoke graphic effects were added in post-production. Lower Training Costs Another benefit of virtual reality in training is lower costs. The training session used to shoot the 360-degree video cost around $20,000, which is typical of similar training exercises. Mobilizing a ladder truck, two fire trucks, a fire rescue truck and commander’s vehicles are all part of the costs, as are the costs (including overtime) of 13 firefighters taking part in the exercise. VR is a relatively new learning tool, and Schreiner says feedback from the market will make it clear how effective it is. “We can immerse a person in a situation and it’s a safe environment, but we have to let our learners tell us how effective it is,” he says. “We will get feedback from learners and training administration. It’s another tool in the toolbox, but it will not totally replace real-life training.” VR Training For Dangerous Professions Schreiner says VR is a huge training opportunity for any type of dangerous profession, whether construction workers operating on scaffolding, or educators in an active shooter situation. “Where safety is a risk, VR will really start taking off,” he says. Almost 6,000 clients across the United States use Target Solutions training products, including courses that are specific to the fire service, such as "Cancer Related Risks of Firefighting."

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