Virginia Beach Fire Department receives state award for training technology

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VBFD scommand staff and training staff at the event Saturday (Photo courtesy of VBFD)
VBFD command staff and training staff at the fire training conference Saturday (Photo courtesy of VBFD)

VIRGINIA BEACH — The Virginia Beach Fire Department received a state award for its incident command simulation lab — a technology used for fire service training.

The fire department received the Governor’s Award for Excellence Saturday during a fire training conference at the Virginia Beach Convention Center.

“[Incident command] simulation training has permeated all levels of our organization and we are seeing system-wide improvements in decision-making and fire ground effectiveness,” interim fire chief David Hutcheson said in a release.

The simulation is a command-level training that combines live role players and time-motion data from high-rise training burns.

VBFD spokesperson Art Kohn said the fire department created the simulation after it recognized a need to improve its command and control structure when its firefighters trained during simulations at the Cavalier Hotel.

“If it’s like a high-rise fire, you’re going to have a lot of players in that. You’re going to have at least two engine companies, two ladder companies … so once you start getting all those companies involved in one fire, command and control becomes more complicated,” Kohn said in an interview.

“That’s what this simulation is designed to do … to find those command and control challenges and come up with solutions to deal with them.”

Hutcheson said this training will improve the fire department’s ability to work with Norfolk and Chesapeake in responding to mutual and automatic aid incidents.

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