A simulator designed to improve safety at speed for all blue light drivers was launched by Babcock International Group (Babcock) at the recent LGA Emergency Services Conference in Bristol.
The prototype is the culmination of 18 months’ R&D work and is the first emergency services driving simulator of its kind in the UK to be built with a 200 degree wrap-around screen, which will give drivers a fully immersive experience. While the prototype has been created to identically mimic a standard fire appliance, the concept is something that can be adapted to any emergency response vehicle to train thousands of drivers across the country.
The concept will be used to support traditional driver training already carried out by the emergency services, but as it takes place inside and not on the road, it will be done in a safe and hazard free environment.
Alistair Cumming, Head of Training, Design and Development for Babcock’s Skills and Learning business, explained the plan was to work in partnership with the emergency services helping them adapt and transition to proposed legislative changes, as well as developing skills for blue light drivers.
Many emergency services are already adapting their training to fit in with proposed changes to the Road Safety Act 2006. These changes, once they come into force, will require emergency services to ensure they carry out regular refresher training on drivers.
Alistair said, “What we’re bringing to market is a state of the art product that reflects and meets the changing needs of our emergency services, not just in the UK but internationally. The R&D and intelligent software built in to the model can be optimised for any vehicle, and that is really exciting.
“Babcock will work with blue light drivers to ensure they are confident, compliant and competent to drive these vehicles safely at speed. We offer the chance to do that training in a safe and hazard free environment.”
Babcock trainers have also recently passed a national diploma in Emergency Response Driving (ERD) Instruction, accredited by the Royal Society for the Prevention of Accidents (RoSPA), and will be working with them to accredit both the simulator and the associated courses.
Babcock’s John Fuller, who was part of the team behind the concept, spent 14 years as a London Fire Brigade Emergency Response Driver Trainer and will be one of the first trainers Babcock will use on the programme. He said, “We are delighted to be working with RoSPA to gain accreditation as safety is paramount in everything we do. We want to ensure these drivers get to their jobs in the safest and quickest way they can and the training we will offer will really support that.”
The project team behind the concept commissioned Coventry-based Serious Games International, to develop a software programme and Motion Simulation Ltd in Slough to develop the hardware for the prototype.
The video below shows the simulator in action.