POSTED: 7:37 pm EST December 4, 2006
UPDATED: 7:57 pm EST December 4, 2006
ORLANDO, Fla. --
When emergencies such as fires, shootings and fights happen at local schools, police and firefighters often find themselves blind because they're not really sure of the layout of the campus.
A big training simulation show in Orlando provided first responders with a look at a device that could give officials a 3-D look inside schools, WESH 2 News reported.
At the Alion Science and Technology booth, which is part of the simulation training show at the Orange County Convention Center, Alion officials showed off a program that could help police and firefighters with a new electric pair of eyes inside schools, something that could be vital when emergency strikes.
In one program, for example, 3-D camera views inside a real high school showed every hallway, classroom, the media center and cafeteria.
Company officials said during times of crisis, such as a shooting or a hunt for a dangerous intruder, police and other emergency workers will have a clear view of where to go.
"Knowing where potential hazards are, where potential hiding places are can save lives," said Alion's Mark Crooks.
That kind of technology might have been helpful to SWAT teams earlier this year when a teenager holed up inside of Milwee Middle School in Seminole County.
The program would have shown police what the room looked like. A student armed with what turned out to be a pellet gun died in the incident.
Police agencies around the country have been exploring better ways to map out schools in preparation for crisis since the Columbine shootings in 1999.
At the convention, first responders also learned about special training to fight criminals to make sure that officer don't get hurt.
The Virtual Interaction Combat Environment is a software and hardware combination that is designed to help train soldiers looking for the enemy. It can also be used to help train local police and SWAT team members.
For example, the program simulates a street in an Iraqi town where rebels have taken over. But it could easily be adapted to show a street in downtown Orlando or an office building.
The key is that it provides police scenarios that could help them protect citizens, but more than that, it presents simulations that can't be duplicated in real life without real risk.
"With any kind of live rounds or even blank ammunition or even simulations, there is a danger with actually conducting the scenario of something going wrong and a person getting hurt," said David Slayton of Dynamic Animation Systems.
Even though it is sold as a military application, it could prove extremely helpful training local police. To comment on this story, send an e-mail to Greg Fox
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