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Global wildfire exercise at Northumberland FRS

Northumberland Fire and Rescue Services (FRS) recently hosted an international XVR Wildfire exercise.

This training was the first event in the UK which used a virtual reality simulation training tool to simulate wildfires. The international wildfire training at the Northumberland FRS is part of the Initiative for Global Management of big fires through Simulation (IGNIS) programme, funded by the European Commission through DG ECHOs Civil Protection Financial Instrument.

During the training, fire officers and incident commanders from France, Italy and Portugal came to the UK to train the management and control of large scale and complex wildfire incidents. Within the virtual reality setting, participants had to work together with different parts of the command chain, ensuring the command structures worked seamlessly while managing the wildfire incident in order to keep the virtual people safe.

Paul Hedley, chief fire officer at Northumberland FRS, said, “Wildfires can have devastating effects and it is paramount that we know how to manage and suppress them effectively when they arise, which we are able to do through the use of this training tool which allows us to work with all areas of command and our international agencies to coordinate the effective management of a wildfire.”