Technology, specifically virtual reality, is a highly effective training tool when used in the right setting. Delgado Community College Maritime and Industrial Training Center’s U.S. Coast Guard-approved IMO STCW Advanced Fire Fighting course is a perfect example of effective virtual reality utilization in training.
The Maritime and Industrial Training Center in New Orleans uses XVR On Scene to effectively train various fire scenarios. Located in New Orleans, Delgado is the first Maritime Training Center in the United States that has incorporated virtual reality simulation into their STCW Advanced Fire Fighting curriculum. This simulation software allows for virtual reality rather than live fire practicals.
The Maritime Training Center first piloted the program in 2018, and although the initiative took some time to gain momentum, the response has been very positive. Due to the favorable outcome, the training center submitted an addendum to the U.S Coast Guard in February 2021. This addendum would add two courses, STCW Advanced Firefighting Refresher and STCW Advanced Firefighting Revalidation, and replace all live fire practicals with XVR On Scene.
These two courses have been recently approved by the U.S. Coast Guard, eliminating outdoor live-fire scenarios and replacing them with the XVR Simulation software. These changes will be reflected in new programs beginning in April 2021.
Rick Schwab, Senior Director of The Delgado Maritime and Industrial Training Center says: “Our Training Center has combined the technology of virtual reality with our professional firefighting instructors, who bring more than 30 years of experience to the classroom, by creating a new suite of command-and-control U.S. Coast Guard courses: Advanced Fire Fighting, Advanced Fire Fighting Refresher/Revalidation. When our team was introduced to XVR simulation, we immediately knew this was what we needed to take our incident command training to the next level. Strategic thinking is a critical skill brought to the forefront in simulated scenarios, which have replaced live firefighting practicals in these courses. In this way, students can develop focused skills on management and leadership in an emergency scenario, rather than on putting out the live fire themselves. We feel that the XVR command and control simulation scenarios give us the opportunity to train the future leaders in this industry!”
The content covered in all STCW Advanced Firefighting classes is very similar. The courses in which a seafarer is required to take will depend on their previous training and accumulated sea time. Blue Orange Wave’s CEO and supplier of the XVR Simulation software, Tim Lodder, says: “The Delgado Community College Maritime and Industrial Training Center’s use of XVR On Scene in the IMO STCW Advanced Fire Fighting courses is an exciting advancement to an already high-quality, internationally renowned training program. We are very proud to serve this innovative team of professionals in their goal to become the first ones in the USA to apply for and official certify the use of virtual reality in this keystone training in the maritime field.”