Featured Photo: A public safety student uses the driving simulator at Blue Ridge Community College’s Public Safety Training Facility in Henderson County, North Carolina. (Rich Keen, Sept. 2022)
By: Benjamin Rickert
Marketing & Communications Dept.
A new public safety simulation tool is literally putting students in the driver’s seat during their education this fall at Blue Ridge Community College. Thanks to recent grants, the $180,000 transportation simulator allows students and area public safety professionals to safely experience life behind the wheel of common emergency vehicles.
In a fully immersive experience, students build driving skills as they operate industry-accurate controls; interact with a digital environment through a panoramic screen; and experience realistic lights, sounds and vibrations along the way.
“This driving simulator provides public safety personnel the opportunity to train in the operation of emergency vehicles under a wide variety of simulated conditions they will experience during their life-saving work,” said Philip Hosmer, Blue Ridge’s dean of public safety. “This training can be done with no risk to the public and without risking damage to expensive public safety vehicles.”
The Doron Precision Systems, Inc. equipment is located in the College’s Public Safety Training Facility in Henderson County, which opened in April, 2022. The software allows students to model vehicles such as police cruisers, fire trucks, ambulances, semi trucks, city buses, and more. The cab’s interior can be swapped out for physical control surfaces appropriate for each vehicle type.
Blue Ridge’s public safety programs include practice with real vehicles, and the simulator enhances this training through scenarios that would not otherwise be possible. The simulations include the use of distractions such as lights, sirens, radios and other drivers; as well as vehicle malfunctions like flat tires or overheating. Students experience all types of weather, lighting and road conditions. They develop advanced skills in braking, steering, backing up and evasive maneuvers.
“The equipment is available to our police, fire, and emergency-medical partners, as well as students in our Public Safety Training programs,” Hosmer added. “The plan is to use this simulator to increase effectiveness in the field, save lives, and prevent accidents in the communities we serve.”
In as little as two semesters, Blue Ridge Community College can prepare students for a successful future in the public safety field. Available degree and certification programs are available at www.blueridge.edu/public-safety, and inquiries may be directed to firstname.lastname@example.org.