Games Aid Emergency Management: New Game-Based Training Simulations Are Designed to Reduce the Cost and Increase the Effectiveness of Disaster Planning

By Straw, Joseph | Security Management, December 2007 | Go to article overview

Games Aid Emergency Management: New Game-Based Training Simulations Are Designed to Reduce the Cost and Increase the Effectiveness of Disaster Planning


Straw, Joseph, Security Management


EMERGENCY MANAGEMENT is a training-intensive business. For security professionals, civilian administrators, and senior first responders, that usually means daylong, meeting-based tabletop exercises to drill on procedure and decision making. Less often, managers and volunteer "victims" take to the field to test plans and make sure their equipment works.

Both options are critical but also costly and time consuming. A cheaper, more flexible, and likely more popular option is emerging, thanks to the technology originally created for home PCs and Xboxes: game-based interactive training simulations, often referred to as "serious games." (See "Gaming Gets Serious," October "Intelligence" for more on this topic.)

While the games feature the strikingly realistic graphics of their recreational counterparts, trainees hoping to play a first-person shooter armed with a fire hose instead of a Gatling gun will be disappointed. The new wave of programs focuses on critical decision making.

[ILLUSTRATION OMITTED]

A new entrant is Zero Hour, which simulates a mass anthrax attack. Players must make critical operational decisions and respond to questions from an array of fictional characters who report to an inoculation center, all while fielding simulated phone calls and requests for added equipment. Zero Hour was developed through a collaboration between the Chicago Health Department, the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, and the University of Illinois.

In 2005 Carnegie-Mellon University's Entertainment Technology Center rolled out "Hazmat: Hotzone," a first-person response scenario game field tested with firefighters in Pittsburgh and New York City.

A commercial spin off of the Hotzone project, SimOps Studios now sells its own 3-D simulation design software catered to first responders, dubbed Code3D, and consults users on developing their own training simulation with customized land-scapes, scenarios, and tracking.

Now, the Department of Energy's Sandia National Laboratory is developing "Ground Truth," which in its current prototype simulates the initial response to a chemical tanker truck leak from the perspective of the event manager.

Like Zero Hour, Ground Truth opens with a rendered, cable-news-style screen shot of an overturned tanker spewing toxic fumes. Then, the main game inter face shows an urban landscape in three dimensions.

When the player deploys the simulation's hazmat response team, the game's 20-minute clock starts ticking. The game does not address the precise details of containing the spill, but rather gets into how responsible parties should manage response and evacuation to limit casualties, says Sandia investigator Donna Djordjevich.

Like pieces on a game board, the player deploys first responders, staying mindful of their capabilities and equipment relative to hazards. The player can order personnel to close or contra flow streets for evacuation, evacuate civilians by area, and even temporarily shelter in-place depending on risk of exposure.

Throughout, performance is graded on a "progress thermometer" that resides on the side of the screen. When the clock runs out, the player is scored based on the number of casualties sustained, both among the game's civilians and among first responders, according to Djordjevich.

Sandia's "Game Technology-Enhanced Simulation for Homeland Security" grew out of the lab's ongoing analysis of "concepts of operation" in homeland security, and Djordjevich's own study in game design at the University of Southern California, which is contributing to the game's development.

The rest of this article is only available to active members of Questia

Sign up now for a free, 1-day trial and receive full access to:

  • Questia's entire collection
  • Automatic bibliography creation
  • More helpful research tools like notes, citations, and highlights
  • Ad-free environment

Already a member? Log in now.

Notes for this article

Add a new note
If you are trying to select text to create highlights or citations, remember that you must now click or tap on the first word, and then click or tap on the last word.
One moment ...
Project items

Items saved from this article

This article has been saved
Highlights (0)
Some of your highlights are legacy items.

Highlights saved before July 30, 2012 will not be displayed on their respective source pages.

You can easily re-create the highlights by opening the book page or article, selecting the text, and clicking “Highlight.”

Citations (0)
Some of your citations are legacy items.

Any citation created before July 30, 2012 will labeled as a “Cited page.” New citations will be saved as cited passages, pages or articles.

We also added the ability to view new citations from your projects or the book or article where you created them.

Notes (0)
Bookmarks (0)

You have no saved items from this article

Project items include:
  • Saved book/article
  • Highlights
  • Quotes/citations
  • Notes
  • Bookmarks
Notes
Cite this article

Cited article

Style
Citations are available only to our active members.
Sign up now to cite pages or passages in MLA, APA and Chicago citation styles.

(Einhorn, 1992, p. 25)

(Einhorn 25)

1

1. Lois J. Einhorn, Abraham Lincoln, the Orator: Penetrating the Lincoln Legend (Westport, CT: Greenwood Press, 1992), 25, http://www.questia.com/read/27419298.

Cited article

Games Aid Emergency Management: New Game-Based Training Simulations Are Designed to Reduce the Cost and Increase the Effectiveness of Disaster Planning
Settings

Settings

Typeface
Text size Smaller Larger
Search within

Search within this article

Look up

Look up a word

  • Dictionary
  • Thesaurus
Please submit a word or phrase above.
Print this page

Print this page

Why can't I print more than one page at a time?

Full screen

matching results for page

Cited passage

Style
Citations are available only to our active members.
Sign up now to cite pages or passages in MLA, APA and Chicago citation styles.

"Portraying himself as an honest, ordinary person helped Lincoln identify with his audiences." (Einhorn, 1992, p. 25).

"Portraying himself as an honest, ordinary person helped Lincoln identify with his audiences." (Einhorn 25)

"Portraying himself as an honest, ordinary person helped Lincoln identify with his audiences."1

1. Lois J. Einhorn, Abraham Lincoln, the Orator: Penetrating the Lincoln Legend (Westport, CT: Greenwood Press, 1992), 25, http://www.questia.com/read/27419298.

Cited passage

Welcome to the new Questia Reader

The Questia Reader has been updated to provide you with an even better online reading experience.  It is now 100% Responsive, which means you can read our books and articles on any sized device you wish.  All of your favorite tools like notes, highlights, and citations are still here, but the way you select text has been updated to be easier to use, especially on touchscreen devices.  Here's how:

1. Click or tap the first word you want to select.
2. Click or tap the last word you want to select.

OK, got it!

Thanks for trying Questia!

Please continue trying out our research tools, but please note, full functionality is available only to our active members.

Your work will be lost once you leave this Web page.

For full access in an ad-free environment, sign up now for a FREE, 1-day trial.

Already a member? Log in now.