The virtual practice in the handling of portable fire extinguishers allows training people in the procedures of extinguishing the beginning of a fire in a realistic immersive environment. It allows the use of fire extinguishers and the simulation of a room evacuation scenario in the event of a major fire or one that cannot be extinguished. This practice is a final step that considers that all theoretical knowledge is already acquired by the learner during the training. The user is in the presence of a specific fire and must react quickly. All the steps are planned, from raising the alarm to calling for help. This virtual practice does not replace the use of a real extinguisher in front of a real fire. It is indeed important to know the weight and size of a device. It is also very important that a safety officer be able to extinguish a real fire during training.
Obviously, the virtual simulation does not place the learner in a dangerous situation as in the extinguishing of a real fire, no need for insurance and no need to set up a security perimeter. The only thing you need is a training room in which there is a computer connected to the virtual reality headset and its sensors. The training can be done indoors without being at the mercy of Quebec’s weather conditions (rain, snow or extreme heat). Furthermore, regulations no longer systematically allow for the creation of an outdoor fire for simulation purposes, as such, virtual reality remains the ideal tool.
The user will follow the procedure as he learned it in theory. Among other things, he must select the right extinguisher according to the type of fire and respect the following steps. The debriefing is really improved since not only the simulation is followed in real time by the instructor but is completed by statistics. If there is time available, the learner can repeat the simulation as many times as he/she wishes at no extra cost.
This training is one example among many others. Virtual reality is still not widely used in the field of skill development, yet it is a powerful pedagogical tool that, thanks to the immersion associated with the repetition of gestures, will greatly improve the skills of users. The technology has been made more affordable and, above all, very easy to use, so there is no longer any obstacle to its frequent application by training organizations or companies.