Elk Grove, Calif. – The rapid development of technology, including virtual reality (VR) equipment, is resulting in exciting opportunities for firefighting training and public education. The Cosumnes Fire Department is leading the way.
Cosumnes Fire, which serves the cities of Elk Grove and Galt, today published a virtual reality-enabled video to demonstrate the importance for motorists to “pull to the right for sirens and lights.” The video is Cosumnes Fire’s first VR-enabled video aimed at using technology to improve public safety.
Cosumnes Fire won the Revolutionary Technology Award at the Revolutionary Technologies Expo 2018 for its proposed Next Generation SMART Concept platform, also known as “911 Go.” 911 Go is focused on reducing community risk by leveraging technology solutions to deliver public education and mixed-reality training for firefighters.
According to Cosumnes Fire Captain and Technologist Kirk McKinzie, “With gaming technology, the 911 Go platform of the future will use computer vision to allow firefighters to see through smoke, and one day may use augmented reality to save lives.” McKinzie has spent a decade working with 3-D technologies and frequently collaborates with world leaders exploring Next Gen solutions.
The video, produced and narrated by Cosumnes Fire Engineer Brian Flynn, is part of their plan to use technology to create a safer environment for residents and first responders. Flynn explains in the video that utilizing the VR experience is the best way to see what first responders see while responding to calls and, most importantly, how drivers should react.
Based on emergency response statistics, it has been estimated that a savings of just one minute could help save 10,000 lives per year across the country. McKinzie stated, “Emergency responders are dealing with increased traffic congestion in our growing community. Responsive motorists will help minimize emergency response times.”
Although the video is viewable on all internet-enabled devices, the full 360-degree experience requires the use of a virtual reality viewer.
Cosumnes Fire will immediately begin incorporating this technology into their public education efforts by exhibiting the video with VR viewers to south Sacramento area residents at dozens of fire station tours and community events in the coming year.
The video was made possible with financial support and equipment from W.S. Darley & Co. and GoPro, respectively, with 200 Google Cardboard VR viewers donated by Verizon, 100 from AT&T and another 100 from Responder Corp.
“Cosumnes Fire is grateful for the support in beginning the 911 Go VR public safety messaging campaign,” said McKinzie.
See the 360-degree video, "Pull to the Right for Sirens and Lights" on YouTube.
Fire and Rescue professionals who are attending the 2019 FDIC International can learn more about these latest technologies by attending Captain McKinzie’s classroom session. Learn more at www.fdic.com.