The operational field assessment (OFA) of the Virtual Training (VT) Simulation Program, also known as the Enhanced Dynamic Geo-Social Environment (EDGE), was conducted from November 17 to 18, 2013, at the Sacramento Police Department headquarters in Sacramento, California. Thirty-six first responders from the Sacramento Police Department, Sacramento Fire Department, and Los Angeles Fire Department participated.
The Department of Homeland Security Science and Technology Directorate partnered with the U.S. Army Research, Development and Engineering Command’s Simulation and Training Technology Center (STTC) to develop VT. S&T leveraged the U.S. Army Training and Doctrine Command and STTC EDGE program, building upon the Army’s virtual framework to meet the needs of first responders across the nation. The need for a tool that allows first responders to train for high-impact events that require a multi-jurisdictional and multi-agency response served as the impetus behind its development. VT creates a virtual environment that can be accessed from disparate locations through the Internet or a local area network. It also allows for modification and customization at a minimum cost. The OFA featured an active shooter scenario that occurred in a virtual replica of a local Sacramento hotel.
The participating first responders noted an overall positive experience with EDGE. They believed that the simulation was realistic and accurate enough to help achieve their training needs for high-impact events. First responders also found the training—approximately one hour—to be straightforward and helpful, which is indicative of a mild to moderate learning curve and a well-designed graphical user interface.