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New Suffolk fire service simulator to become key education tool and incident information hub

PUBLISHED: 14:25 02 June 2018 | UPDATED: 14:25 02 June 2018

The new simulator experience for Suffolk Fire and Rescue Picture: PHIL GEESON

The new simulator experience for Suffolk Fire and Rescue Picture: PHIL GEESON

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A new £70,000 fire simulator is set to revolutionise the way the brigade educates youngsters on safety, bosses have said.

Phil Geeson, station commander at Suffolk Fire and Rescue Service, said the new equipment would be invaluable in education Picture: SARAH LUCY BROWNPhil Geeson, station commander at Suffolk Fire and Rescue Service, said the new equipment would be invaluable in education Picture: SARAH LUCY BROWN

The new virtual reality simulator made its debut at the Suffolk Show last week at the Suffolk Fire and Rescue stand, where scores of youngsters experienced it first hand.

The unit uses virtual reality videos to simulate situations, with the launch programme being around the dangers of mobile phone distractions for young people – particularly young drivers.

The new kit, which cost in the region of £70,000, will replace the old Crucial Crew unit as it has reached the end of its life span, and allows new opportunities for emergency services to get key messages across to young people.

Phil Geeson, station commander from Suffolk Fire and Rescue Service, said: “Originally it was purchased with road safety in mind, but many services are creating more content so we are delving in areas of other safety methods, so more will come later.

“The old fashioned method of lecturing people or shocking people is something we are trying to move away from.”

The mobile centre allows the team to take it anywhere in the county for events, stands, schools and town centres.

But it will also become an information hub at large scale incidents such as that seen in Sudbury.

“It’s hugely important,” Mr Geeson said.

“[Education] is the main step of the work to prevent fires, and we want to encourage people to come aboard and see some advice.

“And in time it may find itself at a large scale incident as an information hub like those in Sudbury or Bury St Edmunds.”

The simulator is the latest in a range of new investments for the fire service.

It has taken delivery of five new fire engines in recent months, as well as a light rescue pump, and is going out to tender on three command support vehicles.

Elsewhere, a new mobilising system is being developed for the joint Suffolk and Cambridgeshire control room, while the first new full time firefighters in nearly a decade will begin in the service this October.

Mr Geeson added: “I think it represents a substantial investment, and as a service and organisation we value technology – investment in equipment gives us confidence in our jobs.”

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