Language Learning and Teaching with the aid of Technology

First Responder - Emergency preparedness and disaster relief simuationtraining in Second Life

What an amazing tour that was, the First Reponder Site which Cyber organized for our teacher meeting on Friday.

The First Responder Sim is a training area for emergency preparedness and actual training participants will receive certification at the end. The sim is provided by LL for public educational and training purposes in the hope that it will enable more lives to be saved in disasters.

CRF is a group which stands as a communication vehicle for development and implementation of disaster preparedness projects exploiting the capabilities in Second Life for first responders and communities to learn and to train, ultimately to save more lives.

Not only is this a fun sim where you can literally "ride" the storm by using pose balls to enter a storm and get tossed around but this is important sim for RL too. As Patrick Thorkveld said, "Truly we hope to enable people to save more lives, that's what is important".

Absolutely incredible the work by 30 people, 5 of whom full-time over a period of 2,5 years creating scenarios serving as training simulation grounds for first responders and other harzardous occupations. Real life firefighters, paramedics, Search & Rescue, electrical linesmen, road crews, heavy equimpment operators, etc, are often seen doing scenarios in various places on the sims. 

Here is the recording: (no sound - text chat only)




What an amazing project!

When we toured this site we felt the heat and the moskitos, the wind and the rain, howling storms. Some of the animations actually took you flying off into air as would be in a real hurricane. 
What was more amazing though is to hear that the person who initiated this project, Patrick Thorkveld has been doing this full-time for 2,5 years and is not getting paid for this. His motives are completely and utterly altruistic.
When asking how much this development cost and how much funding they received from government, he said ZERO. Patrick himself even forfeited tenure to do this, what he hopes to save many lives. Interestingly, his example inspired many to follow him and to devote their time building these scenarios for free. 
Patrick is based in DC and holds a phd in Biomedical psychology at Northwestern University and who has a post grad in business at Harvard. He used to work for the United States Coast Guard (USCG) and saw first hand the damage done tornados, earthquakes, fires, by Katrina, Ivan, Frances, Ike etc.During Katrina, he worked for Admiral Allens Command Cell and also for FEMA and DHS special operations. He developed the alerts and warnings protocols for the USA and a catastrophic plan which expedites exponentially - catastrophic planning and management. 
The idea to develop a simulation such as this in Second Life was brought by Patrick to congressional committee in chambers and they loved it as did joint forces command so they are making money available at state and local level to take part. Whilst getting support at all levels (even from LindenLab!) the development itself was not funded and cost, as Patrick said ZERO Linden. To save lives and to save the world.
The site is said to be open to the public and I encourage you highly to go and visit this most amazing place.
Be warned - there are lots of moskitos!
Here are a few pages which I found in the 'Imagine' Magazin, a magazine distributed in SL.

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