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Where can you have 100 auto accidents before lunchtime without a single injury or smashed up vehicle?
Hundreds of firefighters and EMS personnel from all over the county have been using the Kentucky Fire Commission Driver Training Simulator, which has been parked all week at Shelbyville Fire Station No. 2 at Fairway Crossing, and Shelbyville Assistant Fire Chief Chris Spaulding said the experience has benefited them tremendously.
“It’s a really good tool for training, because it can be a fire truck, an ambulance or a police car,” he said. “They all love it. It’s very realistic.”
“I’ll say, I’m getting dizzy,” said Shelbyville firefighter Jeff Elam, as his seat bounced as he maneuvered his “fire truck.”
“Oh no, somebody pulled out in front of me!” he exclaimed, as his screen displayed a jagged depiction of a broken windshield on his fire truck.
“I just gave him a flat tire,” Spaulding said, pointing a remote-controlled device that allows him to create obstacles for the “drivers” at a simulator occupied by firefighter Toby Marlin.
“We can simulate all types of things, brake failure, flat tires, and even all kinds of weather conditions,” he said.
The 6-year-old, $1 million mobile training facility trailer contains three simulators, two for larger vehicles like fire trucks and ambulances and one for smaller vehicles, like patrol cars.
“There are only two of these in the entire United States that have three simulators; the other one is in California,” Spaulding said.
More than 200 available simulations are embedded into the emergency vehicle operator curriculum to generate a hands-on learning environment for emergency personnel.
Spaulding said the simulator is provided at no cost to fire departments throughout Kentucky, and helps personnel not only with driving training but also with recertification requirements.
The simulator’s program includes 4 to 8 hours of classroom presentations, which includes laws and regulations and vehicle dynamics.