The military has used video game-style simulations for years to train their soldiers. Now, that technology will be available to train first responders on active shooter incidents. The Department of Homeland Security Science and Technology Directorate and the U.S. Army Research Laboratory joined forces to create a virtual training platform, available free to all response agencies nationwide.
First pilot-tested in 2013, Enhanced Dynamic Geo-Social Environment (EDGE) allows responders from law enforcement, fire, EMS, dispatch, and unified command to assume discipline-based avatars and role-play complex response scenarios. Responders outfit their avatar, navigate the simulation and respond to threats based on their department’s policies. Each person determines their avatar’s actions, meaning the simulation plays out differently each time. EDGE was designed to allow people to take part in training simultaneously from different locations. This supports single- and multi-agency use which reduces training costs due to travel. It encourages different agencies or jurisdictions to train together by reducing barriers. Interagency exercises and drills develop a stronger and more effective response.
The scenario currently available is of an active shooter at a hotel armed also with Molotov cocktails. A second scenario, a school shooting environment, is planned for release this fall. Agencies interested in obtaining a free copy of the EDGE hotel scenario or who have general EDGE inquiries may contact firstname.lastname@example.org or visist the DHS Science and Technology web page at https://www.dhs.gov/science-and-technology/enhanced-dynamic-geo-social-environment-edge