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Newcastle International Airport’s Training Academy invests in cutting-edge virtual reality for firefighting

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Newcastle Training Academy embraces virtual reality technology

Newcastle International Airport’s Training Academy has made a groundbreaking move by becoming the first airport in the UK to incorporate FLAIM Trainer, a cutting-edge multi-sensory virtual reality firefighting technology.

The academy, situated on the airport’s grounds, delivers world-class fire and safety-related training programmes that draw attendees from across the world.

Virtual reality: the future of firefighting training

This innovative virtual reality (VR) solution, offered by FLAIM Systems, grants firefighters access to immersive emergency scenarios, complementing their practical training sessions.

The system merges high-quality virtual fire scenes with real-time physical cues, such as heat and noise simulation.

This hybrid training approach allows the academy to augment the firefighting courses on offer.

Trainees benefit from instant feedback and statistical analysis of their performance within this virtual setting.

Moreover, the FLAIM Trainer holds a comprehensive archive of real fire situations, providing thousands of hours of training across over 60 diverse environments.

Graham Reeve, a Fire Training Instructor at the academy, commented: “We pride ourselves on delivering top-tier training in Newcastle.

“We’re consistently seeking out best practices and advanced technology to elevate our course offerings.

“The introduction of FLAIM Trainer not only furnishes a tangible fire training environment but is also safe, user-friendly, and offers invaluable insights into learners’ performance.”

One notable advantage of the FLAIM Trainer is its potential to support the airport’s commendable Net Zero Carbon 2035 strategy by minimising the demand for actual fire scenarios.

Virtual reality supports green initiatives

Graeme Mason, Chief Sustainability and Communications Officer, remarked: “The airport’s venture into this novel virtual reality solution underscores our progressive mindset and dedication to our Net Zero 2035 agenda.

“We’re already advancing on our path to achieve a Net Zero Carbon Airport by 2035.

“Recent developments include the inauguration of a solar farm aimed at powering the airport entirely through sustainable means and the ongoing replacement of all fuel-driven vehicles with electric counterparts on-site.

“I eagerly anticipate the FLAIM Trainer bolstering our steps towards Net Zero 2035.”

Simon Miller, CEO of FLAIM Systems, added: “We’re thrilled to collaborate with Newcastle International Airport, supporting their endeavour to provide top-quality fire and safety training.

“FLAIM offers a safe, cost-efficient method to mimic real-world emergency challenges.

“Our immersive platform pairs perfectly with hands-on training, prepping firefighters to tackle emergencies confidently.

“The added sustainability benefits of virtual training, saving vast amounts of water and reducing carbon emissions, further align with the airport’s sustainability objectives.”

IFSJ Comment

The incorporation of FLAIM Trainer at the Newcastle International Airport’s Training Academy underscores a transformative shift in the realm of firefighter training.

Virtual reality (VR), once thought to be reserved for gaming and entertainment sectors, has been progressively making its mark in diverse industries, and its foray into safety training accentuates its expansive potential.

The hybrid approach of merging tactile, real-world cues with high-fidelity VR ensures that training isn’t just theoretical but emotionally and physically immersive, bridging the gap between simulation and reality.

Additionally, the sustainability advantages this technology brings cannot be understated.

As the world pivots towards greener initiatives, solutions that reduce environmental footprints, such as conserving water and reducing carbon emissions, will be indispensable.

It’s inspiring to witness institutions like Newcastle’s Training Academy lead the way, demonstrating that progress in training methodologies can be symbiotic with sustainability goals.

This move sets a precedent, and we anticipate many other institutions will take cue, heralding a new era of advanced, environmentally-conscious training.

Related: Inside Newcastle International Training Academy

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