Virtual firefighting a reality

Published Friday, 22 May, 2020 at 11:26 AM

Minister for Fire and Emergency Services and Minister for Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander Partnerships
The Honourable Craig Crawford

Queensland Fire and Emergency Services (QFES) is harnessing the power of cutting-edge technology to ensure it continues to lead the way in emergency response.

Local MP for Lytton Joanne Pease said it’s amazing to see virtual reality, augmented reality and 360-video were now key parts of QFES training programs.

“Queenslanders should know their fire and emergency services personnel are not only expertly-trained but also are some of the world’s most progressive and are leaving no stone unturned when it comes to protecting the people of this state,” Ms Pease said.

“It’s great QFES has recognised the possibilities of these emerging technologies and has worked hard to ensure they will benefit communities right across this state.”

Fire and Emergency Services Minister Craig Crawford said extended reality had benefits traditional training approaches were unable to match.

“Apart from being cost-effective, this technology helps us to bridge distances to more-readily educate and train staff and volunteers, particularly those in regional or remote areas.

“This means, for example, we can have one of our leading firefighting instructors at the School of Fire and Emergency Services in Brisbane delivering an incident response program through virtual reality headsets to crews in classrooms at locations anywhere in the state.

“In this virtual environment, the instructor can highlight key incident details and response techniques and provide real-time coaching to ensure best results in the field when it comes time for crews to respond to actual incidents,” Mr Crawford said.

To develop the digital training programs, QFES teamed up with the Queensland University of Technology (QUT) and Deakin University.

Those partnerships ensured QFES tapped into the minds of leaders in the field and were across any advances in the technology as they developed.

QFES Commissioner Greg Leach said the program would continue its rapid progress over coming months.

“We have, in the past few days, rolled out 360-degree video training to an intake of new firefighter recruits, which is an Australian-first as far as we are aware.

“This ensures the recruits have a good base of knowledge and skills they can draw on when they progress to live-fire environments and it reduces some of the risks and costs involved in the early stages of their development.

“Another area the unit is currently working on are training packages focused on firefighting aircraft, which is an important addition to modern bushfire response techniques and a growing part of our operations going forward.

“Additionally, we have been developing programs around storm and severe weather event response with a view of using these to assist with not only training but also community education, he said.”


Media contact:  Hope Fabillar 0428 343 432