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HIGH tech gaming style assessments have ensured Greater Manchester Fire and Rescue Service (GMFRS) has been hailed as one of the most innovative services in the UK.
The Service scooped the Innovation Award at the British Quality Foundation Awards for advances it has made in training and assessing firefighters using a virtual environment.
GMFRS has been using XVR software to assess incident commanders since 2013. The software allows firefighters to be assessed in a pre-built virtual environment similar to a computer game.
Assessors can create a range of realistic scenarios from severe fires to explosions and large scale chemical leaks.
The system reacts to an incident commanders decisions in real time, giving them the chance to control multiple fire engines without having to use any of GMFRS’ actual pumps.
Assessing commanders in this way saves money, keeps the process consistent for each candidate and ensures officers are assessed in private.
Head of Operational Training, Area Manager Mark O’Brien, was joined by Watch Manager Kirk Cornwall and Greater Manchester Fire and Rescue Authority member, Councillor June Hitchen, at a ceremony in London on Thursday, October 13.
Chair of Greater Manchester Fire and Rescue Authority, Councillor David Acton, said: “We are absolutely thrilled to be recognised in this way by the British Quality Foundation.
“This award comes off the back of being given a five star quality by the European Foundation for Quality Management in 2015.
“Ensuring our officers are assessed to the highest standards in the most realistic way possible is vital. Our XVR system is the envy of fire services across Europe, providing an immersive, realistic environment, which prepares our officers for anything they might face.
“I’d like to congratulate the team at the GMFRS Incident Command Academy, who continue to ensure GMFRS is one of the most innovative fire services in the world.”