EASILY NETWORKABLE - FLEXIBLE - AFFORDABLE - REALISTIC
StageIT Fire Simulator is a professional compositing and editing tool that allows you to create or re-create fire, hazmat or emergency response stages of an incident and present them for testing and evaluation. StageIT uses a file and folder structure with the familiar Windows style interface to make navigation easier. StageIT comes with an extensive library of images and effects along with a printed user manual.
Wildfire Simulation Technology – Part 1
By Mike Archer, from a portion of an article that appears on Firehouse.com
These days, with fire departments hampered by tight budgets, training (particularly large-scale exercises) may get cut in order to staff enough personnel. However, the effectiveness of computer-based simulations has begun to catch up with the promise.
Departments no longer have to settle for a PowerPoint presentation that’s long on talk and short on action, as a number of commercial companies have ventured into the firefighter training field, even creating Personal Computer (PC) simulations that can help train firefighters to battle wildfires for substantially less money than has ever been possible before. In this first article in a new series on wildfire simulations, we take a closer look at a representative sample of commercial companies that offer affordable products that can provide realistic wildfire training to even the smallest fire departments.
Action Training Systems (ATS), located in Poulsbo, WA, has been around since 1988, when they began producing quality multimedia productions on VHS tapes. They’ve always used actual firefighters or EMS personnel in filming their programs. Their StageIT Emergency Response Simulator is a professional compositing and editing tool that allows you to create or re-create fire, hazmat or emergency response stages of an incident and present them for testing and evaluation. StageIT uses a file and folder structure with the familiar Windows-style interface to make navigation easier. It comes with an extensive library of images and effects along with a printed user manual. Director of Sales and Marketing Ken Bostwick, a former volunteer firefighter with five years experience, shares some insights on this realistic simulator.
Realism is important to ATS. “When you’re creating these simulations, you’re talking about [a fire department’s] strategy and tactics,” said Bostwick. “There are some universal principles, but you also have to look at your available personnel and equipment. These influence your strategy and tactics.”
The software is flexible, allowing the importing of actual photos or videos from a department’s operating area. “If you’ve got pictures, if you’ve got video clips, you can put those right in, then it’s just a matter of building it,” Bostwick confirmed. “You can build something as a relatively simple simulation if you don’t have a lot of time, or you can create something that’s pretty complex. It scales with what you have the time or the ability to do.”
Bostwick says that a lot of it comes down to the experience and knowledge of the instructor, because that’s who is the brains of the simulator. “There’s no content in [the simulator], instructors are building it, so if they have some good wildland pictures that they took at a scene, they could probably do a pretty good job creating or re-creating an incident with it,” he says.
And if you feel uncomfortable with the prospect of putting together a computer training simulation, StageIT is fairly easy to use. “Firefighters or EMS personnel just want a tool that is going to help them instruct better or train better, they are generally not in love with computers per se,” Bostwick affirmed. “With StageIT’s file and folder design, you simply drag and drop effects. So, when you know a couple of basic principles about StageIT it’s pretty easy to work with.”
Another nice feature of StageIT is the ability to use scenarios in presentations. “The separate stages of a StageIT scenario are published as an independent Windows Media Video [.wmv] files automatically, which can be taken out of StageIT and inserted into other programs, like a PowerPoint presentation,” said Bostwick. “I had one guy who used StageIT to replace photos of smoke in a PowerPoint presentation he’d used for years with little movies showing those different smoke types. He said, ‘Everybody thinks I’m so cool by doing that, but it really wasn’t that hard to do!’”
“If an instructor wants to use the software to present simulations in a classroom or on a standalone computer they only need the Instructor Module which is $1,499,” said Bostwick. “The Effects Module [$499] adds more effects and the StageIT Student Module [$159] is only needed if they want to network in other computers and be able to present simulations to students remotely.”
To see the complete article click here: Wildfire Simulation Technology: Part 1
Derailment - Aerial View
Courtesy of Steve Bailey, Asst. Chief, Independence FD, Independence, MO
Derailment - Ground View
Courtesy of Steve Bailey, Asst. Chief, Independence FD, Independence, MO
This clip was edited to size for the website. Note the plume that appears on the right hand side is also incorporated into the aerial view above.
Creating a Simulation: No limit on the number of pictures or stages
Make your simulation as simple or as complex as your training requires. No more limits to what you can do! Saved simulations can be re-opened at any time to make revisions and then published as a new version of the original.
Extensive Media Library: Realistic Smoke, Fire & Explosion Animations
StageIT comes pre-loaded with nearly a gigabyte of clip art images, commercial and residential photographs, fire, smoke animations and over 130 sound files.
Flight Deck Fire 1 - Courtesy of Don Arbuckle
Import your own: Pictures, video, sound and clip art
Use pictures from your response area to build meaningful simulations. Import your own video and pictures of your own apparatus and equipment for added realism. Save imported files in the User Collection area in the Media Library.
Flight Deck Fire 2 - Courtesy of Don Arbuckle
Edit Media Properties: Layer, set transparency levels, adjust speed for animations
Adjust the size of animations to fit your photos - Layer smoke on top of fire - adjust the transparency for thick or sparse smoke - adjust the speed of the smoke or fire – delay the start of an animation - adjust duration of any layer – fade in or fade out - get just the effect you need.
Flying Missile - Built Using All Static Images
Present Simulation: “Click-and-Go” non-linear instructor control feature
Click-and-go to any section or stage of your simulation on the organization tree to instantly change student views. Change stage views in reaction to student responses or play multiple stages in a pre-timed order.
Quad Split-Screen of Single Family Residence
Easily Network: Display different views simultaneously on your network
Setup student groups so you can change the view or stage of an individual student or group independent of other viewers. Instructor screen shows all student views.
Crews can remain in their response areas while participating in a training simulation.
Export: Your completed Stages are saved as Windows Media Video files
Easily import completed stages of a simulation into PowerPoint® presentations, send via email or play them on their own.
From the Insert menu in PowerPoint® simply choose Movies and Sounds then Movie From File and browse to where your simulation files are saved. Choose the WMV file that was automatically created by StageIT and it is now in your PowerPoint® presentation. That's all there is to it.