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Fire Department saves money with virtual reality trainer



Chief Craig Danczyk uses the new virtual reality trainer while Inspector Nathaniel Williams oversees his progress.

A new virtual reality training kit has been added to the Vicksburg Fire Department’s arsenal of tools to help people learn how to use a fire extinguisher.

“If you’ve never done a live fire or operated an extinguisher, you can get somebody in this and they’re, ‘Oh. OK. I can do this,'” said Fire Chief Craig Danczyk.

“Technology is making it a lot easier and safer to train people,” added Inspector Nathaniel Williams.

The virtual reality kit was Inspector William’s project. He was able to get the Oculus Rift-S VR trainer with grant money from State Farm. The cost of the entire kit, including the laptop computer, was less than $3,000. With the addition of this VR kit, it will no longer be necessary to use a live fire extinguisher, saving the city money.

Vicksburg has several programs aimed at ensuring everyone has a smoke alarm in their home, and the city wanted to add instructions on how to use an extinguisher.

“Not only do we do smoke alarms, we going to do fire extinguishers,” Danczyk said about the need for the unit. Showing how to best utilize an extinguisher the chief kept up a running commentary. “The thing about a fire is you want to sweep right to left. PASS is the acronym we use to train people. Pull (the pin), Aim (at the fire), Squeeze and Sweep  (the base of the fire),” he said.

The VR trainer will be used to train residents all around the city, including students, along with new hires to the fire department.



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