University develops virtual reality disaster response training program for first responders
"Our high-fidelity program is designed to look very realistic," said Dr. Nicholas Kman, professor of emergency medicine at Ohio State College of Medicine
By Leila Merrill
COLUMBUS, Ohio — To help first responders be prepared for mass casualty incidents, the Ohio State University College of Medicine developed a virtual reality disaster response training program.
During the training sessions, participants wear a VR headset that places them in an underground subway bombing scenario where they practice SALT (sort, assess, life-saving interventions, treatment and/or transport) triage. The program can be customized to change the number of victims, their injuries and distractions such as smoke and noise, according to a university news release.
The program allows trainees to give commands, ask questions and receive feedback from patients that is consistent with their condition. Participants are equipped with the tools needed to treat life-threatening injuries such as tourniquets and wound packing, plus triage tags to prioritize care when more help arrives.
The program produces a performance assessment after each session.
“It's very important for first responders, law enforcement, and physicians to be able to go into a scene, do hemorrhage control, and triage victims to determine who needs medical care first,” said Dr. Nicholas Kman, professor of emergency medicine at Ohio State College of Medicine. “Our high-fidelity program is designed to look very realistic, and once you put that headset on you are immersed into a scenario where you can move around, interact with victims and make life-saving decisions.”
The project was funded by a grant from the Agency for Healthcare Research and Quality. Ohio State University’s College of Medicine and Advanced Computing Center for the Arts and Design created the program.