If all you've ever experienced with virtual reality is a small headset with a mobile phone inserted, then you've got to experience this new fire education program developed and integrated in partnership between the City of Madison, Lightbulb Technology, and Madison City Schools. Students can play Minecraft-style on an iPad or laptop, or they can be inserted into a full-immersion world, complete with headset, hand controls, and binaural sound.
Today (August 16, 2018) the Madison Fire Department hosted an event to showcase the new software and it's accompanying custom-built trailer full of iPads bays.
The three VR scenario locales include floor plans for three different housing layouts pulled directly from Madison residents' homes: a multi-level apartment, a single-story house, or a multi-story home. Students are injected into a variety of everyday scenarios and led through the process of fire safety best practices. One scenario is built around an oil fire on the stove; another is a nighttime scenario involving smoke alarms and an escape plan; and the other is a general bedtime scenario that leads the student through preparing a home for a safe night of sleep.
Mayor Paul Finley helped facilitate this project, leveraging the Madison Fire Department's outreach goals against the computing genius of Lightbulb Technology, a local virtual reality startup headed by Fred Williams, a Bob Jones High School graduate. Mayor Finley took his time at the mic helping everyone understand how important modern and engaging outreach opportunities are for the City of Madison.
Now, it's the job of Madison City Schools to work closely with the Madison Fire Department to ensure every 4th and 5th grade student in the city gets their hands on this hot new tech. It's going to be a fun year in fire safety education in Madison City Schools!
Enjoy this quick video montage of the event created by Abby Hancock, senior at James Clemens High School: