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Title: Immersive Virtual Reality Training Module for Active Shooter Events
Active shooter events are not emergencies that can be reasonably anticipated. However, these events do occur more than we think, and there is a critical need for an effective emergency preparedness plan that can increase the likelihood of saving lives and reducing casualties in the event of an active shooting incident. There has been a major concern about the lack of tools available to allow for modeling and simulation of human behavior during emergency response training. Over the past few decades, virtual reality-based training for emergency response and decision making has been recognized as a novel alternative for disaster preparedness. This paper presents an immersive virtual reality (VR) training module for active shooter events for a building emergency response. There are two immersive active shooter modules developed: occupant’s module and Security personnel module. We have developed an immersive virtual reality training module for active shooter events using an Oculus for the course of action, visualization, and situational awareness for active shooter events. The immersive environment is implemented in Unity 3D where the user has an option to enter the environment as security personnel or as an occupant in the building. The immersive VR training module offers a unique platform for more » emergency response and decision making training. The platform allows for collecting data on different what-if scenarios in response to active shooter events that impact the actions of security personnel and occupants in a building. The data collected can be used to educate security personnel on how to reduce response times. Moreover, security personnel can be trained to respond to a variety of emergencies safely and securely without ever being exposed to real-world dangers. « less
Award ID(s):
2131116 2026412 1923986
Publication Date:
Journal Name:
Proceedings of the IS&T International Symposium on Electronic Imaging (EI 2022), in the Engineering Reality of Virtual Reality
Sponsoring Org:
National Science Foundation
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  3. Chen, J.Y.C. (Ed.)
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  4. Abstract Background

    Video‐based training has been widely adopted by private organizations and public authorities to educate occupants on various types of building emergencies. However, the effectiveness of video‐based training for preparing occupants for building emergencies has not been rigorously studied nor has the impact of emergency type been investigated on training effectiveness.


    This study examines whether video‐based training is an effective method to prepare occupants for building emergencies and how the effectiveness differs in the context of different building emergencies.


    We simulated fire and active shooter emergencies in a virtual office building and conducted evacuation experiments to examine participants' emergency responses using both objective and subjective metrics. A total of 108 participants were recruited and responded to the fire or active shooter incident with or without video‐based training.

    Results and Conclusions

    The results revealed that participants with video‐based training more often chose to follow other recommendations when responding to building emergencies instead of simply following others. Results from ANOVA showed that training increased participants' self‐efficacy significantly, especially for those in the active shooter group. Moreover, participants in the active shooter simulation had a higher level of response efficacy than those in the fire emergency simulation. Our results also demonstrated the influence ofmore »emergency type on participants' final decisions and considerations of the recommendations.


    Our results suggested that video‐based training is effective in improving participants' emergency preparedness and changing their behaviour patterns to a certain extent such as reducing following behaviour and encouraging safe evacuations. Additionally, statistically significant interactions between video‐based training and emergency types suggested that training effectiveness should be considered in accordance with the emergency type.

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