The 4th International Fire Protection & Rescue Exhibition KIELCE IFRE-EXPO, a flagship event for firefighters and first responders, has always been a platform for showcasing innovation and advancements in rescue technologies. This year, amidst various cutting-edge presentations, we were honored to present you with a unique project — Fantasos – a groundbreaking Virtual Reality (VR) simulator system for firefighters.

Before you’ll read more about Fantasos you can look at the reactions of IFRE-EXPO attendees! 

Fantasos – what is it?

Firefighter training system

The Fantasos VR training system is not just a step forward in firefighter training – it’s a leap. This innovative platform harnesses the power of virtual reality to create immersive, hyper-realistic crisis scenarios. Utilizing 360 treadmills, participants can freely navigate through four varied and challenging simulations – a car crash, a house fire, a multi-family building blaze, and chemical contamination.

Fantasos pushes the envelope of realism even further by introducing environmental elements. As trainees approach the virtual flames, strategically placed heaters ramp up the temperature, providing an added layer of authenticity. This immersive approach equips firefighters with the experiential knowledge needed to tackle the real-life challenges they encounter on duty.

The system’s unique features also extend to the use of physical props. Firefighters train with handline nozzles equipped with trackers, which are accurately represented in the VR environment. This focus on precision and accuracy ensures that participants hone their tactical skills, finesse, and control.

What’s more, Fantasos, developed in collaboration with Łukasiewicz PIAP, has integrated the use of cutting-edge technology like the innovative IBIS robot. With its console mirrored in the virtual world, trainees learn to operate this robot during the chemical contamination scenario. This interactive addition allows for a holistic learning experience, equipping first responders with the technological skills needed in modern rescue operations.

In essence, the Fantasos VR training system isn’t just preparing firefighters for the realities of today; it’s priming them for the challenges of tomorrow.

How can it be used?

Firefighting departments can use the Fantasos VR training system in several innovative ways. Here are some ideas:

Recruitment Drives and Community Outreach: Fire departments could use the system as a way to engage with the community and attract potential recruits. By providing a glimpse into the challenges and thrills of firefighting, they can inspire a new generation of first responders.

Educational Programs: Fire departments often run educational programs in schools and community centers. The VR system could be a compelling tool in these settings, providing an immersive experience that teaches teenagers and adults about fire safety. By experiencing a simulation of a real fire, individuals may gain a deeper understanding of the dangers and how to respond to such emergencies.

Scenario-Based Training: The VR system allows firefighters to practice handling specific scenarios that they may not encounter regularly, such as chemical spills or high-rise fires. This helps ensure they are well-prepared for a wide range of emergencies.

Decision-Making Drills: The system could be used to help firefighters practice making rapid, high-stakes decisions under pressure. By repeating the scenarios, they can learn to evaluate situations quickly and accurately, improving their decision-making skills in real-life emergencies.

Team Building Exercises: Firefighting requires strong teamwork and clear communication. The VR system could be used for team-building exercises, with different team members playing different roles in the simulated scenarios. This can help strengthen team members’ bonds and enhance their collaborative skills.

Why choose Fantasos simulator training

We’re grateful to acknowledge the significant role played by our professional colleagues from a neighboring fire brigade in the ongoing testing and enhancement of our Fantasos VR training system. Their expert insights have been crucial in fine-tuning the simulator for optimal realism and effectiveness.

At the IFRE-EXPO, we enjoyed sharing Fantasos with around 150 attendees, offering them a first-hand experience with our training tool. This provided us with invaluable feedback and allowed us to directly observe the advantages they discovered in Fantasos. So, what are the benefits of this VR training simulator?

Risk Reduction: One of the primary benefits of a VR simulator is that it provides a safe environment for training. Firefighters can engage in high-risk scenarios without the physical danger accompanying these situations in real life.

Realistic Training: With heat simulation and the use of actual firefighting tools like handline nozzles and robots, the Fantasos VR system offers a highly immersive and realistic training experience. This helps to bridge the gap between theory and practice, preparing firefighters for real-world scenarios.

Versatility: The system’s four distinct scenarios provide training for various situations, from residential fires to chemical spills. This versatility ensures that firefighters are equipped to handle a variety of emergencies.

Performance Assessment: VR simulations precisely track a firefighter’s actions and decisions. This data can be used for detailed debriefings and performance assessments, helping identify improvement areas.

Repeated Practice: In real life, many emergency scenarios are rare occurrences. With the VR simulator, firefighters can practice these scenarios repeatedly, helping to ensure they are well-prepared when such emergencies do arise.

Cost-Effective: Traditional training methods often involve significant expenses, such as the cost of burning a structure for a live fire drill. The VR system provides a cost-effective alternative, offering endless repetition without the associated material costs.

Efficient Training: The Fantasos system allows for the training of multiple firefighters simultaneously, reducing the time and resources required for individual training sessions.

Community Engagement: The VR system can also be used for community education and recruitment, making it a multi-faceted tool for fire departments.

In short, a simulator like Fantasos can be invaluable for modern firefighter training, providing realistic, safe, and cost-effective preparation for real-world emergencies.

Stay tuned!

And now, we have exciting news. Very soon, Fantasos will make its innovative VR training system available for all of you that are interested in implementing it in training programs. This tool bridges the gap between training and real-world application, offering firefighters a safe, immersive, and authentic environment to refine their skills and techniques.

We invite you to stay tuned for updates on the Fantasos VR simulator for firefighters. Be a part of this innovation that is shaping the future of firefighter training and helping create a safer world for everyone. We are excited about the journey ahead, and we’re sure you will be too.

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New technologies enthusiast. She bought her own VR headset after using one for a few minutes. Always a busy cognitive science student 🙂