How do you train people to work in hostile and dangerous situations? What prepares the uninitiated for terrible injuries and frightening working conditions?
In a world primed for the latest computer games and technology, it’s no surprise that our Armed Forces are benefitting from virtual reality too. Civilians may be playing at soldiers on their Xbox or PlayStation at home but real soldiers are using simulation to learn how to save lives.
The Military’s use of simulation technology covers every aspect of going to war, including training fighter pilots with flight simulators, ground troops with battlefield simulation and medical simulators to help prepare for casualties.
Simulating war conditions is a vital part of educating troops. Knowing how to assist in a medical emergency and learning life saving skills is crucial to every soldier. In conditions of war, even trained Doctors and Nurses need the opportunity to practice operating on wounds that aren’t normally seen in hospitals back home.
Welcome to the world of simulation .. and it’s come a long way over the years! Once upon a time, if you wanted to practice giving injections or learn how to sew up a wound, practicing on an orange was said to mimic the feel of human skin. Nowadays, there are a whole host of simulators to help teach correct procedures and techniques for just about every condition you can imagine.
Medical simulation itself has been transformed recently with some amazing technology. More realistic manikins are able to react with human breath sounds, pulse points and can even register a heart beat on an ECG machine. Some can even describe their symptoms and realistically cry out in pain!
Learning the theory of how to treat severe wounds on the battlefield is only part of a medic’s education. Being confronted with a very realistic simulation of what you are likely to see, hear and feel is altogether more complex. It’s not easy re-creating conditions in Afghanistan, Iraq or other war torn parts of the world. But it’s very important that the simulated conditions are as realistic as possible, so that personnel take the training seriously and are able to react exactly as they would do in a genuine emergency.
The Army insists on carrying out these training sessions in conditions that accurately reflect the battlefield and use effects to emulate sniper fire, night-time conditions, fire, smoke & sounds of war. Forcing trainees to immerse themselves in a virtual (but safe) reality helps every individual assess what skills and reactions are needed in real life.
Ensuring every soldier undergoes simulation training increases the survivability rate of everyone on active service. Learning to cope with Sim City casualties allows soldiers and medics to be armed with simulation experience when they’re fighting to save lives for real.