CFD Launches Virtual Reality Fire Safety Program For Youth

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CFD Launches Virtual Reality Fire Safety Program For Youth

02/04/2020

 

 

CHICAGO (WBBM NEWSRADIO) -- The Chicago Fire Department has unveiled a privately-financed

million-dollar, virtual reality-based fire safety training program for kids.

 

The department gave the program a test run Tuesday at St. Sabina Academy on Chicago's South

Side.

 

"Can I jump out of my second-floor bedroom?"..."No."..."Can I jump out of my first-floor

bedroom?"..."Yes."

 

Students navigated a kitchen fire in a 2-flat during the 15-minute program, during which they wear

virtual reality goggles and answer a series of questions, learning what to do and what not to do in

the event of a fire.

 

"The Fire Escape is a 15-minute, virtual reality experience," said Richard Ford, the Chicago Fire

Commissioner. "It encourages students to navigate safely away from a simulated kitchen fire in a

Chicago two-flat."

 

Development and implementation cost a million dollars and was done with corporate donations.

 

Student Terri Player said "it was weird, because it didn't feel like real life. I would look around and I

couldn't see my hands or my body, I just saw the room,"; however, she said, she learned not to

panic and to crawl on the floor and feel the door before opening it, among other things.

   

Richard Ford, the Chicago Fire Commissioner, said this is a first-of-its-kind education tool. He said

for the past 30 years the department has used coloring books to teach fire safety to students.

 

He said the VR program brings fire safety education "out of the stone age and into the new age."

Ford said he expects that it will be adopted by other departments around the country. 

 

CFD Launches Virtual Reality Fire Safety Program For Youth