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South Korean FRS invests in simulation training

Incident command training using virtual reality and simulated scenarios is gaining serious ground in South Korea, which an article in the South Korean 119 Plus magazine (a publication for the fire and rescue services) has put a spotlight on. Our South Korean users each have training facilities with hundreds of square metres at their disposal, alongside state-of-the-art equipment.

It is clear that in South Korea, using VR technologies for education, training and assessment of first responders is a priority. Earlier this year, the South Korean National Fire Agency announced that they will be pushing for a redesign of the command capability development program, which uses simulation training and traditional teaching methods, in an effort to improve and expand the use of simulation training. They will also be introducing a new incident command evaluation certification system to ensure their capability. South Korea currently has three (soon four) outstanding incident command training facilities which all use XVR Simulation’s platforms – read more about them below.

The Incident Command Training Centre (ICTC) in Seoul commands two full floors for simulation training, a total of 635 m2. From the centre’s opening in 2015 until June 2020, the centre ran an impressive 874 training sessions for more than 25,800 participants. As of this year, they have added mobile training units to facilitate remote training. Initially, the training centre focused on firefighting only, but has since expanded its curriculum to also provide training courses to firefighting emergency rescue command units, emergency rescue control teams, integrated support headquarters for local governments, disaster response agencies, and ordinary citizens.

The Centre for Incident Command Training (CICT) in Gyeonggi-do comprises more than 706 m2, and between October 2019 and July 2020, they conducted 67 training sessions for 1058 participants. They focus in particular on training the incident commander who first arrives at the incident scene to improve their experience and decision-making abilities – an important skillset, as Gyeonggi Province has the most fires in the country. Their training scenarios are split almost equally between 1-on-1 trainings and team trainings. Since April 2020, they have been offering theoretical training as well as training debriefings, and going forward the province’s 35 fire stations and 105 incident commanders will attend a yearly training.

The National Fire Service Academy is (so far) the largest of the three, with three training facilities spanning a whopping 834 m2. At these facilities, they do on-scene command training (disaster response procedures and system mastering); integrated command training (team trainings on multi-agency emergency rescue control); and situation management training (large-scale emergency response drills for disasters). Most scenarios currently focus on fires in complex buildings and factory fires involved hazardous chemicals. The Academy plans to develop more virtual scenarios to train more complex disasters, such as tunnel accidents or collapses, wildfires, and fires at large institutions like schools, universities and hospitals. Since its opening in October 2019, they have conducted 66 training sessions with 1148 participants.

Gwangju Fire Service Academy has announced the construction of their new training facility, to be completed by 2022. The Academy will be providing six different training courses, and using the ICTC as a benchmark, they plan to introduce even more systems and features to enhance the quality of training. Once it is completed, this will be the fourth VR training facility in the country.