Emergency management in the virtual world

Emergency Management Alert, September 23, 2008

Rarely do you hear the phrases “video games” and “emergency management” uttered in the same sentence, but one hospital is experimenting with the virtual world and finding success.
Mary-Margaret Crulcich, the head of safety and emergency preparedness at Children’s Memorial Hospital in Chicago, has begun using the online program called Second Life, according to an article in the Chicago Sun-Times. The hospital hired Centrax Corp to purchase computer server space (known as an “island” in the virtual word), and build a 3-D version of its facility and surrounding streets, in order to virtually play out emergency situations.
Compared to mock accident drills in the real world, which are limited in scope and cost, the virtual program provides emergency management personnel with the ability to review a plan numerous times to see the outcome, or break it into segments for a more detailed look. Experimenting with different scenarios will allow officials at Children’s Hospital to determine more minute details such as the number of wheelchairs needed on hand or where a traffic jam might occur.
For the full article, click here.


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