University Politehnica of Bucharest (ROMANIA)
About this paper:
Appears in: ICERI2020 Proceedings
Publication year: 2020
Pages: 6991-6998
ISBN: 978-84-09-24232-0
ISSN: 2340-1095
doi: 10.21125/iceri.2020.1497
Conference name: 13th annual International Conference of Education, Research and Innovation
Dates: 9-10 November, 2020
Location: Online Conference
Although various training activities are often organised for preparing people how to react in emergency situations, they are usually not enough. Moreover, children represent a risk category and, in case of emergency, they are very disadvantaged because their lives depend on the adults around them, therefore they should also be prepped and be able to react correctly by themselves. Virtual reality (VR) technologies help the educational system to become more attractive for pupils of all ages, being an advantageous solution for training children to react in extreme conditions. This paper focuses on presenting a self-training tool based on VR which aims to help pupils improve their fire-safety skills. It is implemented using Unity3D game engine and HTC Vive, and its goal is to allow users to virtually experiment different reactions, see the consequences of each action and establish the best option for a real possible situation. Everything is done while in complete safety, but the scene is also realistic enough to sustain experiential learning among children.

The user has access to every functionality available, because the purpose of the application is self-training. The main training environment is a house where a fire will occur, the user having the possibility to interact with different objects from the scene (doors, cabinets, drawers, water tap, etc.), but also the possibility of doing a set of predefined actions. To extinguish the fire or call for help, they must use different tools that are available within the scene, depending on the difficulty of the selected scenario (eg: extinguisher, water bucket, telephone). In order to complete the presented scenarios, the user also has at his/her disposal a series of tasks which guide them through. For example, the first scenario, the most simple one, includes the following tasks:
1. Search for the phone in the house and grab it,
2. Evacuate the building under safe conditions,
3. Use the phone to call the fire department,
4. Wait for the firefighters to arrive.

The user has to remain calm while quickly completing those tasks.

The fact that children are very receptive to a new type of technology has also been taken into account, especially when it comes to a game that uses this technology. Therefore, the application is created in order to be interactive, educational, intuitive and easy to use. The research process brought to light important things about people's opinions: the initial survey for market research shows that there is an increased interest in the VR field in general and for this type of training application’s purpose in particular, and the validation survey highlights the usefulness and the necessity of such software.

All users that tried this VR game said they consider the simulation more useful than theoretical training. This result validates this paper’s work, especially in the context where theoretical lessons are still one of the most common methods of learning.
Training for emergency situation, virtual reality-based training application, experiential learning, fire-safety training, crisis management for children/pupils.