First responders are our first line of defense for homeland security and they face a variety of environments that demand specialized skills and greater exposure to different scenarios. Providing such exposure is often met with funding challenges for necessary training for today’s responders.
Active shooter incidents, for example, are unfortunately happening more frequently than in the past, and require a consolidated response from law enforcement, Emergency Medical Services, Fire Services and other local, regional, state and possibility federal agencies. Training for these types of events, especially training jointly, is difficult and not cost effective. Understanding that, the Department of Homeland Security Science and Technology Directorate (S&T), applied their resources to finding a solution.
The result: the Enhanced Dynamic Geo-Social Environment, or EDGE. A virtual training platform, EDGE allows responders of all disciplines to assume discipline-based avatars and simultaneously role-play complex response scenarios.
On August 14 at 2 p.m., we’ll be hosting a Tech Talk about the EDGE system and how communities can access it—free of charge—to augment and reinforce live training for officers, agents, firefighters or emergency medical technicians.
If training costs and accessibility are a challenge for your community, I encourage you to tune in.
We will be joined by Cole Engineering Services Inc. and the U.S. Army Research Laboratory (ARL) – our partners in this endeavor—to discuss how EDGE uses a gaming approach to training and allows participants to role-play response scenarios.
The goal of EDGE is to improve coordination and communication before an active shooter or other catastrophic event happens to mitigate injuries and loss of lives during a live response. It addresses several scenarios like active shooter, fire and rescue and is designed to allow customization based on an agency or department’s standard operating procedures. It is not pre-scripted because the approach to response is not one size fits all.
S&T partnered with the Army and Cole Engineering Services, Inc.—EDGE platform developer—to provide a point of distribution for the software. This speaks to our dedication to connecting responders with tools that will help them when it matters the most—and we know that cost and access can be a challenge.
I’m excited that the Directorate was part of developing this tool that any responder with a computer and internet access can use (those interested can contact firstname.lastname@example.org, 877-EDGE-011 (877-334-3011), or www.cesiedgetraining.com for additional information on the EDGE tool).
I hope you will join us on August 14. Our Tech Talks are an opportunity to share our latest technologies and R&D work. It’s also an opportunity to hear from our viewers. In advance of the Tech Talk, I invite you to tell us what you’d like to know more about. Connect with us @dhsscitech on Twitter and Facebook with training topics or questions you’d like us to address next week. Learn more about our work on our website!