Students partner with firefighters to create virtual reality training program

A custom-made training tool for first responders is closer to existence, thanks to a partnership between Sachse High School students and the Sachse Fire Department. Students in animation and computer science classes recently presented the latest developments of the Sachse First Responder Simulation—a virtual reality (VR) training program three years in the making.

SHS teachers Erik Bushland and Jessica Garcia are behind the creation of this 21st-century initiative. The duo wanted their students to take on a service project that capitalized on classroom-acquired skills. That challenge led to a rescue service-centered endeavor that eventually resulted in real-life collaboration with the fire department.

Sachse Fire Chief Marty Wade and Operations Captain Chris Hall were in attendance as students detailed the intricacies of building program features during the January showcase. Steps involved in creating a mapped layout of the city of Sachse, lighting systems, model renditions, a random address generator, hands-free coding and more were presented. Guests were then invited to experience the VR component of the simulation—driving a fire engine through a concept city while wearing a headset.

Both Wade and Hall were impressed with the progress and look forward to the day when trainees can utilize the program.

 Watch the exciting event in action via CW 33 news coverage.