Firefighters with backs turnedpointing at blaze

Fire investigation training goes digital with new simulator

Developed in partnership with Centre for Digital Media and District of North Vancouver Fire & Rescue Services

Fire investigation training has taken a digital step forward with Justice Institute of British Columbia (JIBC)’s development of a new gamified learning experience to better prepare students to investigate fires.

The new fire investigation simulator, dubbed FlashoVR, offers students a new way to enhance the training experience through scenarios found in a 3D video game format. This gives them the chance to learn and practice their investigation skills such as collecting evidence and applying critical assessment and decision-making skills.

“High-quality firefighter training requires investment in real-world environments like those found at JIBC’s Maple Ridge campus, where burn buildings, mock train derailments and vehicle collisions are used for life-saving training,” said Charlene Jordan-Jones, Director of JIBC’s Fire & Safety Division. “Technology-based simulations like FlashoVR support our unique hands-on learning model.”


The simulation program provides yet another means for smaller groups of students to get real-world training in an environment that mimics real-world situations. The ability to offer the program online will also increase the accessibility of the training to students anywhere in the world.

“The real value of the simulator is that it allows students to learn and practice the investigative process in a safe environment without being subjected to contaminated atmospheres,” said DNVFRS’s Kim Saulnier, who also serves as an instructor for JIBC’s Fire & Safety Division. “Students can also use the simulator repeatedly to master the process, creating ‘muscle memory’ before performing exercises as required for certification by the National Fire Protection Association.”

Students of the graduate-level program at the Centre for Digital Media developed the program in partnership with JIBC’s Fire & Safety Division and Centre for Teaching, Learning & Innovation (CTLI), and subject matter experts from District of North Vancouver Fire & Rescue Services (DNVFRS).

As one student noted, “I liked how I was able to walk outside [in the simulation game] to gain some situational awareness and for documentation purposes and whatever else I might want to observe. The game is a way to allow a learner like me to consider field information to invent some possible hypothesis.”

The project recently won a gold 2021 Horizon Interactive Award in the Training/E-Learning website category. The international awards competition recognizes the best in several mediums including websites and website design, videos, online advertising, print media, and mobile applications.

The tool has been piloted and will be used in future offerings of JIBC’s FIRE-1270 Fire Cause & Origin 1 course.

All images and content in this press release has been provided by JIBC.

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