First Responders Using AI & VR Training


COLUMBUS, Ohio (Ivanhoe Newswire) – Virtual reality – it can transport you to places you’ve never been and it can give you experiences you may never have had before. Now, first responders are using that same technology to help them prepare for the worst of the worst. Because how quickly first responders respond means the difference between life and death.

A team at the Ohio State University College of Medicine created a cutting-edge virtual reality training program that is helping paramedics and firefighters prepare for highly intense situations like bombings, mass shootings, and interstate pile-ups.

“It’s too bad to say that there’s, like, more of these events than we can count,” says Doctor of Emergency Medicine at the Ohio State University College of Medicine, Nicholas Kman, MD.

Jesse Martinez is an advanced EMT — on the job for 23 years — he put on the VR headset and was transported to the scene of a subway bombing.

“You just know where the bad patients are, or the worst patients are, and you just work from there,” explains Martinez.

Dr. Kman adds, “I can talk to a patient, I can ask you, ‘Where are you hurt?’ I can ask you to show me where it hurts.”

Captain Glen Keating says, even though there may never be a subway bombing in his area, treating the victims of any mass causality situation is similar.

“We have plenty of situations that are multiple patient car accidents and, you know, that doesn’t matter. That can happen anywhere,” Keating says.

And instead of disaster training once or twice a year, first responders can train year-round.

Keating mentions, “I think the ability to do that over and over and over again, furthers muscle memory.”

“The hope is that if you do training enough, when the real event happens, it kind of feels like the training,” Dr. Kman says.

The virtual reality disaster response training program is being used in several communities across Ohio and is quickly expanding to other states.

Contributors to this news report include: Marsha Lewis, Producer; Kirk Manson, Videographer; Roque Correa, Editor.

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BACKGROUND: Virtual Reality technology has witnessed remarkable advancements in recent years, expanding its application beyond entertainment into fields like healthcare, education, and training. One of the most promising application areas is in the realm of first responders, such as firefighters, paramedics, police officers, and search and rescue teams. VR is proving to be a transformative tool in enhancing the capabilities of first responders by providing realistic training simulations, improving situational awareness, and aiding in complex decision-making processes. VR allows first responders to engage in immersive and highly realistic training simulations. These simulations can replicate various scenarios, from firefighting in a burning building to responding to a mass casualty incident.


DIAGNOSING: VR can provide first responders access to interactive 3D anatomical models that allow them to explore the human body in detail. By manipulating virtual organs and tissues, they can deepen their understanding of anatomy, which is crucial for pinpointing the source of a patient’s symptoms and determining the appropriate course of action. Critical care injuries encompass a wide range of conditions, including trauma, severe infections, cardiac events, respiratory failure, and neurological emergencies. Prompt and accurate diagnosis is crucial for initiating appropriate treatment and improving the patient’s chances of recovery.


NEW TECHNOLOGY: The Georgia Institute of Technology has developed a sensorimotor integration lab where patients undergoing nuerohabilitation, such as recovering from a stroke, are matched with robotic devices called motus. The device is strapped to their arms and legs with the goal to speed up their rehabilitation exercises and well being. The patients and professionals using the devices wear virtual reality headsets where feedback is sent to the doctor that can help them help the patient perform tasks they need asistence with. Lead on the study, Dr. Housley says, “The headset tells you really critical things, like how much force someone’s muscle can put out. It can also tailor an intervention—for example, if someone has difficulty picking up a cup of coffee, you can guide them in real time.”



Serena Smith

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