Video games to train emergency responders

Video games will be used to train workers in emergency response training in the face of a biological attack, U.S. authorities have announced.

“The United States has a long way to go, for preparing for disaster,” Colleen Monahan, a public health expert at the University of Illinois in Chicago, told Gamer Headlines.

Monahan said that the training required to prepare public health workers and volunteers how to react to a bioattack is incredibly costly and time consuming.

“If they [Chicago] had an anthrax dispersion, they would have to organise fifty five dispensing centres and provide medication to three million people in forty eight hours,” Monahan said.

To provide the necessary training in the face of costs, a new "pod" games has been developed that allows players to pick a specific role and make quick decisions, all while dealing with a wide array of people in an artificially simulated disaster scenario.

“We can give the cities that are using the game data that tells them what percentage of the work force is prepared," Monahan said.

The video game technology is still expensive, however, and authorities are investigating the use of existing virtual worlds such as Second Life as a training ground for the tests.

“We could imagine a day where we would have the public also come in and actually experience what it’s like in a virtual world before they actually get there,” Kevin Harvey, one of the creators of the disaster ‘game,' said.