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Simulation Technology Wins Award

By Eddy Ball
May 2010

Two firefighters spray water on a simulated automobile fire
Members of the International Association of Firefighters, above, participate in a WETP-funded "dirty bomb" training demonstration at the HAMMER Training and Education Center( Exit NIEHS in Hanford, Wash. Simulated training can complement live training exercises and make them safer. (Photo courtesy of Ted Outwater)

Developers of NIEHS-funded software for virtual emergency-responder training are winners of a 2009 Adobe Max award. In a March 29 press release, Equipment Simulations LLC, a Worker Education and Training Program (WETP) Small Business Innovation Research (SBIR) grant recipient, announced that its fire-engineering simulation technology, CommandSim, placed first in the Adobe Max Public Sector competition - ahead of entries funded by the U.S. Department of State, U.S. Army, and the National Aeronautics and Space Administration.

"We are filling the need for realistic, recurrent, safe, and affordable training for emergency responders," wrote Jonathan Kaye, President of Equipment Simulations, parent company of CommandSim( Exit NIEHS. The Adobe Max( Exit NIEHS award-winning simulation solution was created using the programs Adobe Flex 3, AIR, Dreamweaver CS4, Flash CS4 Professional, Flash Media Interactive Server, Illustrator CS4, and Photoshop CS4. CommandSim is the software used to power a growing line of fire-engineering simulations( Exit NIEHS available for training programs.

Equipment Simulations' press release featured testimonials from people in the fire-fighting and training sectors. "The value CommandSim brings is enormous, because we can practice how we work in a no-consequence setting," said Nyle Zikmund, Fire Chief of the Spring Lake Park-Blaine-Mounds View Fire Department in Minnesota. Others pointed to the value of training "in a dynamic, real-time environment" and "reducing out-of-service time because people can participate in the exams in their respective districts."

NIEHS Program Administrator Ted Outwater oversees the SBIR grant funding of CommandSim as part of the WETP's Hazardous Waste Worker Training Program efforts. When he learned of the award, Outwater described CommandSim as the culmination of efforts to make high-quality first-responder training available to more people in the field and help reduce injuries and fatalities among firefighters and other first responders.

"If we can save lives by preparing first responders for the wide range of scenarios they'll face on the job," Outwater explained, "then this kind of state-of-the-art technology pays for itself many times over. It also helps us get more training for new and veteran responders from every dollar we spend," he added.

The annual Adobe Max Award honors the creativity of designers, developers, and decision-makers using the firm's leading-edge software in the areas of Advertising and Branding, Education, Enterprise Productivity, Entertainment, Mobile, Public Sector, Social Computing, and Social Responsibility to shape the future.

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