The global pandemic is generating changes to our daily lives that no one imagined could happen. One of the consequences of Covid-19 is the need to establish security measures to protect us from infection. Measures such as social distancing and the use of masks have been established for an unlimited time since we do not know when we will be able to return to ‘normal’.
It is these restrictive conditions that have led many to new forms of teaching, such as distance learning, or enhanced those that already existed, such as online training platforms.
One of the tools that can be of great help for this type of training is the 3D infographic that, together with its younger siblings virtual reality, mixed reality and augmented reality, is already being used widely in fields as diverse as gaming, medicine, engineering, aeronautics, judicial research, etc.
These four forms of computer modelling and sampling are very powerful because of their large graphical capacity and because they offer many possibilities to transmit information to the brain. If they are used responsibly, and integrated into the training process, they greatly improve the quality of teaching, increasing the ease of understanding and learning by students.
The constant advances in these technologies make them very versatile for training programmes, increasing their scope and allowing us to offer global views of scenes or incidents that otherwise our brain would not have the ability to process.
To us firefighters, these technologies can help us in training students by opening two lines of work that can be compatible with each other or independent, as we choose. On the one hand, they offer us the option to work online or remotely, since we can develop classes during periods of Covid restriction, creating classrooms over the Internet. And, on the other hand, if the training is face-to-face, with the use of sampling offered by these technologies we can reduce training hours in the classroom as well as in the field of manoeuvring, which results in a reduction in the economic costs of the courses.
I will try to show some examples based on traffic accidents. All the photographs I share in this article are taken in a 3D format and allow us to see them in three dimensions and in 360°. Examples of what 3D technology can bring to rescuers in training processes, both online and face-to-face, are:
1 This technology can be found on the market in two formats. First, in the form of previously designed software where we can work through the different possibilities offered. They use high-resolution graphics that are very useful for use in training. Second, is the use of 3D programs to create different scenarios, manoeuvres, distribution of rescue personnel, etc. This option is not subject to limitations and everything depends on the imagination and creativity of the trainer, and also offers high-resolution graphics and great manoeuvrability. It is more economical but requires skill in software management and the dedication of more time to creating scenarios.
2 The 3D infographic allows you to generate multiple scenarios of traffic accidents, railways and aeronautics. This allows us to show, to all students together, the details of the scenarios by increasing performance in the classroom and reducing the time in the field of manoeuvres.
3 We can show the position of the different emergency vehicles called to intervene. Looking at the photograph we can see how the organization of the emergency area must be established according to the degree of danger that exists. Zones red, yellow and blue are the spaces that have to be generated to ensure the safety of firefighters, paramedics and police, since electrical hazards, gas leakage, explosions, spills and other hazards can be found inside or around a crashed car.
4 The 3D format allows us to visualize the different elements and their location within the vehicles, since it allows us the option to separate these elements and differentiate them from the general structure. For example, we can show the different powertrains that a vehicle can have as we see in the photo. This makes it easier for students to understand the spatial situation they occupy and where different fuel or/and electricity conductors may go.
5 This technology allows us to perform and show different stabilization manoeuvres in any position that we put the vehicle, either on its wheels, in lateral rollover or total rollover, as well as performing vehicle stabilization simulations in any scenario we have previously developed. We are also able to display the area in 360° to see in detail the possible conditions under which the stabilizing elements can be placed.
6 We can show where different cuts or/and material separations can be made to release injured occupants. This makes it possible to understand the various manoeuvres that can be performed for the release of people trapped in vehicles.
7 Due to the possibilities offered by 3D technology, with a high degree of realism and the ability to show spaces, gaps and measures, we can contemplate the different possibilities and manoeuvres that we can perform for the extrication of injured people. This makes it easier for firefighters to make decisions when we have to execute an extrication manoeuvre in an emergency.
This 3D technology is a powerful tool for training firefighters and other rescue groups. It allows students to understand more easily and quickly the concepts covered by teaching with high-resolution graphics showing scenarios and possible manoeuvres to be performed in each situation. The different accidents designed can be viewed in three dimensions, with the ability to vary fields of view in 360°.
As we have seen in these examples, the use of these technologies in the rescue of injured people allows us to design, display, observe, clarify and/or discuss specific scenarios. This makes it easier to make decisions about the different ways to proceed with the rescue of people. All this can be done in the online or face-to-face classroom, depending on the training process due to the conditions that exist at that time due to the pandemic.
We need to keep in mind that while 3D technology offers many possibilities, it can’t ultimately provide a real manoeuvre. Those of us who have some experience in rescuing people in accidents know that every situation is different. This makes the forces and stresses that are generated unique and specific to each accident and therefore the movement and behaviour of materials when cut, separated and/or eliminated, unique and characteristic of that accident.
These are the reasons why I think manoeuvres should always be practised in as real scenarios as possible. And if we have vehicles previously deformed by impacts, better for the development of the practice.
The optimal thing is to take the best of both forms. That is, if we can show a scenario with 3D technology and then go to the field for real manoeuvres at the same scenario, the quality of the training would increase greatly.
We also need to add the economic aspect. As 3D increases students’ speed of understanding, it reduces training schedules. It causes a reduction in teaching hours, both in the classroom and in the field of manoeuvres, with the consequence of reducing the total economic budget of the course.
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