This picture is of a live exercise in Sweden. One of the CRISIS partners was involved in this exercise. The exercise itself is not part of the CRISIS-project.

Conducting crisis training at airports is extremely expensive and requires extensive preparation time. A ‘serious game’ developed by NLR and partners is intended to make it easier to train for crisis situations.

During this three-year EU 7th Framework project, CRISIS, a simulation environment is being developed that allows airport emergency personnel and coordinators to prepare for dealing with a serious aircraft incident, such as an accident or bomb threat.

The project has recently completed its first year, with NLR playing a key role thanks to its extensive training expertise and experience. NLR laid the foundation for the ‘crisis training system’ by mapping the training needs of those involved, while also developing a concept for the virtual game.

Based on interviews with emergency personnel (the ‘first responders’) and coordinators (those that coordinate the emergency services personnel), it emerged that there is indeed a training need for dealing with learning objectives related to the teamwork between  the first responders and coordinators, such as communication and coordination. Moreover, learning objectives, such as decision-making, working under pressure, information dissemination, risk estimations and leadership, were deemed to be of paramount importance for the training.

Unique to this game is the fact that various other organizational levels can also participate in the virtual environment, including the first responders and local, regional and national coordinators. In addition, the various types of emergency personnel (fire, police, medical) can be trained simultaneously.

Industry partners and three universities participated in CRISIS, which stands for ‘CRitical Incident management training System using an Interactive Simulation environment.’ Three end users, under the management of NLR, were involved in creating an operationally realistic CRISIS environment and the training scenarios: the airports of Reykjavik (ISAVIA) and Lisbon (ANA), and the British Transport Police.

During the coming project year, the gaming companies will work on further developing the CRISIS game. At the same time NLR will work on developing training modules and devising an evaluation plan for the project. The results of the training, as assisted by the serious game, will be compared to the live training undertaken by the end users. Does the game actually improve performance during a live training? The findings will be revealed in 2013.

The end products are also of use for Dutch crisis management teams. Many training objectives can be trained in a generic CRISIS virtual environment. A specific airport can be modelled for training (and preparations for training). The innovative training concepts developed and tested as part of the CRISIS project can also be (partially) used in the virtual environments of other products.