Alabama Fire College brings emergency vehicle safety course to Moulton
Moulton Firefighters got another chance to train with an Alabama Fire College Emergency Driver Simulation Program this week.
Moulton Fire Chief Ryan Jolly, who said the program’s simulation truck has been through Moulton before, said the Fire College’s vehicle offers firefighters a chance to improve their driving skills without actually being at risk and on the road.
With a 180-degree field view, the simulator virtually immerses firefighters who are training to drive an emergency vehicle.
The simulation experience is customizable in that it offers a variety of features according to the types of emergency vehicles the hosting fire department houses. For example, if the department has a fire engine or ladder truck, trainees get behind the simulation wheel, and it looks and feels like they are in a similar engine or ladder truck, Jolly explained.
“The simulator is tailored to fit the needs of your department,” he said. “They even offer a side for police officers and law enforcement, so it’s like they’re training behind the wheel of a police car with all the equipment and features.”
During the simulation training, participants are subject to about 160 scenarios that test their reaction time to stressful and potentially dangerous situations that can occur on the road. Program instructors can add a glare to the windshield, change the weather, have another vehicle pull out in front of the training driver, or even have an animal run into the road.
Jolly, who said he’s trained with the simulator himself, recalled the tension he felt as the simulator vibrated and shook as if it were actually involved in a collision.
“It’s as realistic as you can get without actually being inside a fire engine and experiencing those scenarios first-hand,” he said. The best part: the risk-free training is offered to fire departments across the state at no cost to the hosting department.
“The Fire College is really big about properly training emergency responders,” he said. “They’ve pumped hundreds of thousands of dollars into providing equipment like this for training purposes.”
He said Moulton’s Department provides their own instructor for the course, who has been certified and evaluated to teach the instruction through the Fire College as well.
Most of Moulton’s firefighters have had an opportunity to train on the simulator as their schedules allow, Jolly said. Drivers who want to further their training or try for better results may train with the program multiple times as long as the truck is in town.
“We’re excited to have this opportunity here this week because this technology is tough to get your hands on. It travels across the state, so it may be in Gulf Shores one week and in Scottsboro the next,” Jolly said. “While we’ve got it here, we’ve opened it up to Moulton Police Department for training as well.”
SOURCE: The Moulton Advertiser, By Chelsea Retherford Staff Writer
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