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The types of firefighter simulators commonly include training for search and rescue operations, dealing with hazardous materials, handling different types of structure fires, and improving command center operations. Some simulators teach firefighters how to safely drive and operate firefighting equipment, while others might deal with natural disasters. When fire departments serve as first responders to medical emergencies, firefighter simulators might offer training in virtual emergency situations.
Fire departments might use simulation software with special effects to complement training at fire training centers. Using technology to create situations allows firefighters to make split-second decisions and receive immediate feedback. Gaming software might enhance firefighter simulators to provide realistic situations faced by emergency crews.
Simulators might be used to train new firefighters and help veteran members of the department sharpen their skills. Some fire departments use simulators as testing tools for promotions. These devices might also aid in analysis and evaluation after an incident.
Firefighter simulators typically cover all types of structure fires, ranging from single-family residences to high-rise apartment buildings. They might incorporate different building materials and various hazards of these substances. Many of these simulators not only give an idea of fire behavior, but also offer practice in rescuing people in different scenarios, including entering and working in rooms in the dark and using ladders in multistory buildings.
Other topics covered by firefighter simulators might teach ventilation of buildings and the chemistry of smoke from burning materials. They provide practice in assessment of the scene, communication among firefighters, and strategies to evacuate victims while protecting nearby property. Some fire simulation programs allow inserting photographs of specific buildings to make the training more realistic.
Firefighter simulators might also deal with wildland or forest fires fought by multiple fire districts. Incident command training typically prepares upper-level supervisors to use resources wisely while keeping personnel safe. Communication between departments can be practiced on the simulators, along with setting priorities.
One type of firefighter training deals with mass casualty situations, such as a plane crash or major traffic accident with multiple victims. These incidents might also involve hazardous substances, such as petroleum. Other simulation training might deal with a methamphetamine lab fire and the dangers associated with these chemicals. Firefighters can practice via simulation software to prepare for real-life situations.
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