Participants in Boston emergency simulation use projectiless weapons

Emergency responders who participated in the Urban Shield training exercise on May 3 in Boston used projectileless weapons from the manufacturing company iCOMBAT.

Wisconsin-based Universal Electronics, Inc., owns iCOMBAT, which has developed laser tag technology for both professional and entertainment purposes since 2005. iCOMBAT Engine software allows real-time player tracking and rankings, and monitors a number of factors, including time and ammunition. The equipment is used in countries around the world, including Germany, Turkey and Zimbabwe.

iCOMBAT projectileless equipment allowed for those participating in Urban Shield to practice in public areas such as a hospital and the mayor's and other government chambers. The laser tag technology let the participants forego safety equipment, making the event more realistic.

More than 2,000 responders, including SWAT, EMT, police, fire and hospital staff joined the Urban Shield exercise. The daylong training simulation featured 11 different exercises, including bomb threats, active shooters and a parking lot collapse. The final simulation of the day brought together all of the first responders in a collaborative emergency response event.

"What you saw in the Boston Marathon, there was multiple victims, and a lot of need for medical aid quickly, and that's what we are trying to test," Cambridge, Mass., Police Lt. George Sabbey said.