A New Era in School Safety Training with VR

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Student safety should be every educational establishment’s top priority. Our most brilliant yet vulnerable minds are studying in those halls and we have to protect them at all costs. Like any big building filled with people, schools face genuine fire threats. And just like any business, it’s on the staff to prepare for that eventuality.

Sure, there are annual evacuation drills. However, that and the classic “stop, drop, and roll” mantras fail to address modern threats. From K-12 to University and College, students deserve better.

Game-changing technologies now enable affordable ways to equip staff with these skills. This post explores FireGuard VR. It is an innovative new system designed to make schools safer through virtual reality safety training.

School Safety Training.

 

About FireGuard VR

With looming fire dangers, educators need more fire safety solutions. Chaac Technologies offers precisely that through its new FireGuard VR platform. Used by the educational sector, FireGuard VR uses virtual reality to create fire practice simulations. We teamed up with real firefighters to make it as realistic as possible. The software lets all staff rehearse responses that save lives.

Users strap on VR goggles and enter a room ablaze with realistic fire, dense smoke, and alarm sounds. The 3D environment can be modeled after a building that resembles their halls and rooms down to the exit signs.

From there, they practice quick critical thinking and responses. Should they pull a fire alarm first or attempt to grab an extinguisher? How do they safely check doors before opening if smoke fills the hall? FireGuard builds muscle memory for this type of decision-making.

The magic of VR training means running through practice emergencies repeatedly without real smoke danger or collateral fire damage.

The magic of VR training.

 

What’s Included

We provide everything needed to get started with FireGuard VR. It all begins with the software holding the simulation. Our base package includes one tutorial to get acquainted. Then, staff can experience eight emergency scenarios across three difficulty settings for a total of 24 challenge levels. English and French options make it accessible for schools from Quebec down to California.

You also receive a comfortable headset to explore the virtual world. Hand controllers are supplied to interact with objects in the simulation, like fire alarms and extinguishers. Optional equipment includes a CleanBox and a charging station.

How it Works

Once the headset is on, users are transported to a crisis situation needing a quick response. Throughout the journey, they will have to:


Finding Potential Fire Hazards

The first step is looking around a fire-free environment and pointing out anything that could spark a blaze. But that’s not enough. It also helps to distinguish the fire class. Schools mainly face Class A fires involving ordinary combustibles. Class B fires involve flammable liquids and gasses. Class C fires are usually started by energized electrical equipment. Knowing these differences helps take appropriate action.

Additionally, staff should keep an eye out for other common fire triggers found in schools. Trash cans overflowing with paper contain plenty of fuel to feed a fire. Science labs with open flames or stored chemicals are high-risk areas. Kitchen grease accumulation also presents a stealth danger.

Identifying Fire Extinguishers.

 

Identifying Fire Extinguishers

Once a small fire starts, it may be possible to put it out before spreading. That requires knowing which extinguisher to use for different situations. Water extinguishers douse Class A fires in wood, paper, and fabric. CO2 extinguishers snuff out Class B and C fires involving liquids or electrical equipment. Staff should learn the technical specs of onsite extinguishers and when to use each.

On top of distinguishing basic extinguisher types, personnel must grow familiar with the specific units installed inside their workplace. Memorizing exact locations in hallways and rooms ensures no time is wasted hunting during incident response. Physically picking up and handling the cartridge builds muscle memory for quick, confident use when visually obscured by smoke.

Initiating Emergency Response

Schools stay near fire departments, yet fire spreads fast enough that every second counts. Locating and activating the alarm should be anyone’s first move with a fire — even if they think they can extinguish it alone. The VR drill teaches this critical lesson through experience.

The virtual training also helps staff overcome natural hesitation in an actual crisis. Common mental blocks like doubting one’s own senses, not wanting to be embarrassed if wrong, or hoping someone else responds first can be fatal with fire. Repeated VR practice overrides such hangups to make alarm activation an instinctive reaction.

Proper Use of the Fire Extinguisher

When it’s time to spring into action, staff must know the proper technique. Our realistic VR simulations help them locate the nearest extinguisher, pull the pin, and spray in the correct sweeping motion while watching for re-ignition. Once the compressed agent empties, immediately evacuate if flames continue raging. Surviving a real catastrophe requires practicing these skills till they become instinctual.

Proper form also means maintaining a safe distance from the fire. Trainees discover how remaining calm provides time to attempt suppression or exit while panicking often has dire consequences.

Safe emergency exits.

 

More Modules Coming Soon

We continually improve FireGuard VR by adding helpful new modules. Upcoming releases will expand the training repertoire through features like:

  • Proper positioning for safe emergency exits and smooth evacuations
  • Learning about obscure fire classes beyond common types
  • Dangers and responses unique to smoke inhalation
  • Correct protocols for door handling during fires
  • Custom room mapping for site-specific drilling


Expanding our training modules ensures personnel are ready for nearly any fire situation. Tailored VR lessons teach responses suited to all possible school-based environments and equipment.

Measurable Skill Checks

Simply practicing emergency responses does not guarantee real learning. Crucial knowledge and skill gaps often hide without assessments. FireGuard VR solves this issue by incorporating specialized scoring algorithms that grade key performance indicators like:

  • Noticing potential fire hazards
  • Alarm activation response times
  • Extinguisher use technique
  • Evacuation completion rates
  • Comparing scores over time to highlight individual and organizational progress
  • Pinpointing lessons where staff need supplemental training to address gaps


Quantitative performance metrics provide a window into accurate competency levels. Admins can use the numbers to target teaching and ensure teams keep advancing life-protecting abilities.

The Need for Extra Fire Safety Training Solutions.

 

The Need for Extra Fire Safety Training Solutions

The once-a-year fake fire drill where students walk out in an orderly fashion might help students, but it has several drawbacks. For one, it is pre-planned, making it easier for participants to anticipate and execute the drill without much thought. Additionally, these drills do not accurately reflect real-life emergency situations where chaos and panic may occur.

Schools need comprehensive crisis preparation to protect our children. Let’s explore why.

Younger Occupants

Students are among those who need saving in a fire. But kids and teens don’t always grasp the severity of the danger. Some may joke around, not taking things seriously. Others can become petrified and refuse to move. That’s why it’s so critical for teachers to keep calm heads. They need to lead groups to safety through example and authority.

Our VR training repeats high-stress escape scenarios. This readies teachers to locate alarms and exits even if panicked students swarm hallways. Knowing the exact routes is step one. Guiding large groups the whole way out is the real test.

Canada Occupational Health and Safety Regulations

Canadian laws say employers need to train all staff on using fire equipment and following crisis safety protocols. Employers are legally responsible for minimizing fire risks as much as possible. Naturally, this training extends to schools. The board must make sure teachers and crews know how to handle fire extinguishers, emergency exits, and pull stations.

Staff should know evacuation routes like the back of their hand. Without having these basics down, schools aren’t meeting the national requirements. That means they risk facing some pretty major fines or shutdowns if an inspected fire happens.

Disrupting Education.

 

Disrupting Education

School fires may entirely or partially destroy infrastructure. Even rebuilding a single classroom takes many weeks. For an entire school, we’re talking half a year minimum. All those displaced students get sent to other schools around the area in the meantime.

This overflowing population leads to straining. The quality goes down for everybody. Preventing the fire from spreading in the first place avoids kicking off this ugly chain reaction. Safe schools equal better education.

Financial Burden

Most public schools operate on taxpayer money. Ask any teacher, and they will tell you budgets are tight enough as they are. There usually isn’t extra room to cover fire damage costs. That means rebuilding from a bad one has to come straight out of the existing school funds.

That money is taken off the top that was supposed to go toward salaries, student resources, and learning materials. As for private schools, they may be footing the bill themselves in the form of higher insurance premiums.

Reputational Impact

Speaking of private schools, they depend on community trust to operate. Good reputations for leadership and safety attract better enrollment, donations, all of it. But one lousy incident can trash everything they’ve built. Things like an untrained staff or ignored risks being blamed for a fire is not a good look.

Evidence like that does way more damage to a private academy than public schools face. It’s a PR crisis affecting their reputations and revenue streams.

Fire Hazards in Schools.

 

Fire Hazards in Schools

Danger lurks everywhere in schools – from minor risks to significant threats. Understanding the top hazards allows staff to snuff out fires before they occur. Let’s explore the most common sources so personnel can proactively minimize the chances of catastrophe.

Arson

The old burning trash can prank remains quite popular among restless students. Especially teenagers who are navigating complex emotions. Such foolish acts often stem from boredom or rebels seeking attention rather than actual malice.

Yet arson is still the leading cause of school fires year after year. Flames easily rage out of control, endangering lives. Staff must remain vigilant for signs of troublemaker activities and intervene at even a whiff of fire starters. Extinguishing problems early keeps things from escalating to disaster levels.

Kitchen

Commercial kitchens face elevated fire risks in general from high cooking heat, grease accumulation, and volatile gasses. Cafeteria staff work hard generating meals behind the scenes. They do so near constant open flames and hot surfaces prime for igniting grease residue or nearby food packaging.

High cooking heat.

 

Once sparked, these kitchen blazes spread via ventilation systems that whisk smoke and fire throughout buildings. Kitchen crews focus intensely on safety regulation adherence and cleanliness. Yet mistakes happen, with schools facing devastating consequences.

FireGuard VR provides tailored culinary space scenarios accounting for unique factors. Repeated custom drills ready cooks with the best reactions for their specific environment.

Science Labs

School science labs store flammable or reactive chemicals critical for demonstration experiments. Proper handling reduces – but doesn’t eliminate – fire risks. There can be spills, vapor releases, or human error in mixing the wrong compounds.

The problem is compounded by students secretly accessing labs or supplies to fool around. Lab instructors cannot be reasonably expected to monitor secured rooms at all times. And adolescents often circumvent safety barriers when curiosity and temptation strike.

Electrical Fires

The dense array of powered devices across schools multiplies the risk of electrical fires. Between aging wiring, outdated fuses, scattered extension cords, and constant plugin/unplug cycle strain – sparks can unleash catastrophe in seconds.

Electrical fires also tend to originate within walls or ceiling voids, often evading detection until breaking out elsewhere. Toxic smoke spreads from smoldering plastic insulation long before visible flames endanger evacuation.

 

Who Should Follow VR Safety Training

Schools employ diverse workforces with specialized fire duties. Custodians respond differently than teachers, for example. Tailoring VR training to roles improves responsiveness when seconds count. Let’s see how drills uniquely benefit common teams.

  • Teachers: Teachers are often first responders. They must organize dozens of students for evacuation through identical hallways. FireGuard VR mimics classroom escape routes for practice until teachers reliably lead groups out to safety.
  • Facilities & Maintenance Staff: Maintenance teams constantly traverse properties, ready to handle anything. Their training regiments test extinguisher skills on simulated electrical and chemical fires. These could even be modeled after maintenance rooms and storage closets, where fires are likely to start.
  • Kitchen Staff: Cafeteria staff get guided walkthroughs to pinpoint dangers like grease accumulation and gas line issues. Proper chemical storage rules adjacent to kitchens are also drilled.

How Efficient is Fire Safety VR Training.

 

How Efficient is Fire Safety VR Training?

Traditional fire safety training usually involves gathering everyone in the parking lot for a lecture. Then, they take turns spraying demo extinguishers at a controlled prop fire. Virtual reality platforms offer significant advantages over this dated approach.

Speed

Staging traditional drills requires coordinating busy, conflicting schedules. But our VR headset stays conveniently in the lounge for voluntary use during free moments. Trainees aren’t displaced, and modules only run 10-20 minutes each, enabling short bursts of practice.

Studies confirm personnel train up to 4x faster in VR than conventional methods. Schools save dozens or hundreds of hours of productivity, overcoming logistic hurdles. More staff get trained per year without expanding budgets.

Immersive Training

VR simulations replicate sights, sounds, and stress from raging school fires in incredible realism. Users endure disorienting smoke, blaring alarms, and terrifying flames. It’s like a video game, as there are no real life-or-death consequences for poor responses. Only opportunities for improvement.

This visceral exposure builds experience safely. Nothing prepares someone for a real catastrophe like VR. The emotional intensity also burns lessons deeper into memory versus factual briefings.

Retention

Information sticks better when physically experienced versus traditional lectures or manuals. Scientific studies prove VR’s superior long-term retention over conventional delivery.

People remember 80% of hands-on VR lessons after an entire year, compared to just 20% recall from reading or listening after only one week. Active participation also triggers biological responses that amplify recollection durability.

Safety

It goes without saying that starting a real fire comes with its fair share of risks. Untrained staff may get too close and burn themselves. The inevitable smoke inhalation can cause long-lasting health issues.

These dangers are eliminated in VR training, where users experience pressure and smoke without actual flames or chemicals.

Cost Savings

Dozens of staff members might train annually in conventional drills – their only option previously. But VR platforms enable everyone on staff to drill simultaneously for equal time/cost.

There are also no expenses for fire extinguisher refilling/replacement or facility repairs from live flames. VR guarantees extensive hands-on reps without collateral building wear or resource consumption.

Keep the Classroom Safe With FireGuard VR.

 

Keep the Classroom Safe With FireGuard VR

Student safety remains every school’s top priority. But conventional fire preparation falls dangerously short as risks evolve. Annual evacuation drills and parking lot extinguisher demos no longer cut it.

That’s why Chaac Technologies developed FireGuard VR. We are eager to present the leading fire crisis simulator tailored for schools. FireGuard VR also makes fire safety training scalable across hundreds of personnel with no additional costs. Immersive realism guarantees retention.

As administrators evaluate infrastructural investments this year, we urge reassessing existing prep efficacy. Experience FireGuard VR’s life-saving potential for your unique facilities by booking a demo today.

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