What are simulators?Simulators create a unique way to show people how a dangerous situation can affect them without actually putting them in danger. Simulation gives individuals the opportunity to practice what to do in a dangerous situation. Some examples of simulators used in the 9-1-1 community include: Texting and Driving Simulator, Drinking and Driving Simulator, How to Dial 9-1-1 Simulator, and Rollover Convincer (Seatbelt Test).
Where can you get a simulator?There are various companies that make simulators and they usually cost around $1,000- $3,000 dollars. But there are also organizations and companies that provide simulators for use free of charge. One example is State Farm who, through grants, bought simulators throughout the U.S. to help educate the public on distracted driving.
At Texas A&M University, simulators that can be reserved for use at schools or safety fairs by approved entities. Through their distracted driving simulator, they have a participant drive on a busy highway while reading and responding to text messages on their cell phones. Another simulator they have is a Rollover Convincer which demonstrates an adult dummy wearing a seatbelt in a rollover crash and then the dummy not wearing a seatbelt in a rollover crash. Both of these simulators have made great impacts on the community and help show the dangers of distracted driving as well as not wearing your seatbelt.In Pennsylvania, Huntingdon County 9-1-1 applied for a grant that helped them purchase their very own 9-1-1 simulator. Through their simulator, you are able to practice making a real 9-1-1 call. (This particular simulator was created by Retina Systems Inc.) Joe Thompson of Huntingdon County 9-1-1 worked hard to partner with other organizations in order to receive a grant to purchase this simulator. He said it has been a great success and people are always asking him how they can get one for their local area.
How can I find out more information on Simulators?With public education budgets gone, there are opportunities out there for individuals to apply for grants that could go toward the creation of these simulators. It just takes a little effort to find out more so that your public education program can have its very own simulator. Below are some links to get you started on finding out more about simulation and how it can benefit your 9-1-1 program.
9-1-1 Interactive Simulator: http://www.911interactivesimulator.com/
State Farm Grants: http://www.statefarm.com/aboutus/community/grants/company/company.asp
Distracted Driving Simulator Online: http://www.nytimes.com/interactive/2009/07/19/technology/20090719-driving-game.html?_r=0