Babcock Immersive Learning Suites for the London Fire Brigade - Feltech Feltech
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Babcock Immersive Learning Suites for the London Fire Brigade

Feltech have recently completed the design, supply, installation and commissioning of twin incident command suites in West and East London on behalf of Babcock for the London Fire Brigade. 

The facilities use clever technology and systems integration to take immersive learning to a new level.

Babcock Immersive Suite

Babcock Immersive Suite

The system can be used across multiple sites for multi agency simultaneous training.  For the first time this will give the Emergency Services the opportunity to run linked interactive training sessions at their own locations, with Police, Fire and Ambulance working together in a virtual training world, echoing what would happen on the ground at real disasters or accidents. Launched on June 9th 2014 the centres replace the brigade’s Southwark site which has been training firefighters since 1878.

London Mayor Boris Johnson opened the site at Beckton and said “This gold standard facility will help London Fire Brigade to deliver a world class service to Londoners. It is part of a multi-million pound modernisation programme to ensure the service and its staff are equipped with the very best kit to respond to the challenges of a growing 21st century city.”

London Fire Commissioner Ron Dobson, said outsourcing training to private firm Babcock “radically improved” the quality of facilities.

Check out our short film with Steve Gellard of Babcock here;

These suites incorporate key audio visual technologies to improve the immersive experience for each candidate.  Multiple streams capturing every aspect of the training sessions can be recorded and played back in order to debrief candidates step by step through exercises to improve the learning opportunities from each session.  The two Babcock immersive learning facilities provide critical incident command training to approximately 1000 delegates per annum, and are in use around 75% of the year.

Babcock Immersive suite

The immersive facilities simulate large scale accidents and emergencies without costly physical reconstructions involving multiple fire appliances, scores of roleplay actors and camera crews recording events for debriefing purposes.  The immersive suites apply clever technologies to allow training to take place in a flexible, repeatable, controlled and cost effective way. The immersive environments are fully functioning and flexible systems which allow recording of training and use of the recordings for feedback, analysis and assessment.

The technical solution utilises the VADAAR (Video, Audio, Data for After Action Review) Immersaview software which is specifically designed for the simulation market and an ideal fit for this project alongside XVR simulation software.

Babcock Immersive suite

Babcock Immersive suite

The AV systems are designed in order to allow candidates to feel fully immersed in the exercises, with curved projection screens, hand held gaming console controllers, surround sound and interaction with on screen avatar characters and real life actors in uniform in the room.

Feltech designed an innovative IP based solution for the suites routing all signals through the local area network (LAN) to allow content from both pcs and cameras to be monitored across large format displays and simultaneously recorded.  This system takes the opportunities for realistic immersive learning to a new level by making it possible to link sites together over WAN networks.

Pods be operated individually or together as a group, which adds to the realism of the training.  If the pods are running a simulation of a burning block of flats, with one candidate in each of the four rooms, each pod can represent a different sector of the same fire; for example inside the stairwell, outside the front, outside the back, on an upper level, all running simultaneously.

Any action taken in one pod will impact on the simulation across all four, hence if an outside candidate chooses to use a water jet on the exterior of the building, the candidate in the pod simulating the building interior would see the effect of the water jet real time and subsequently have to deal with its consequences.  This allows the facility to test both teamwork and individual skill simultaneously.  In addition, by sharing data over the facilities WAN network simultaneous simulations can be run across both the East and West London sites, or any combination of multiple agency facilities using the same software.

Babcock Immersive Suite

Babcock Immersive Suite

Steve Gellard, Training Manager for Babcock International said “Our working relationship with Feltech has been very very positive… I believe that Feltech have achieved the level that we wanted and I believe they will be able to support us and future proof our systems for the coming years”.

Feltech have an established reputation within the industry for ground-breaking Immersive Learning facilities with an impressive track record including the National Police Improvement Agency’s facilities at Bramshill and the Metropolitan Police Service suites at Hendon.  For more information on how Feltech can help bring your immersive training plans to life contact Peter Fell on 01727 834888 or email peter.fell@feltech


Check out coverage of the opening event of the immersive facility from the BBC here:

And local coverage of the day here;

Find out more about the XVR simulation software here.

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