When someone says the Addams Family, it should immediately (for those of us old enough to remember) conjure up thoughts of Morticia and Gomez, Thing and Lurch. However, over the past few years, the Addams family, as it were, has changed.
Today, the Addams Family has changed into the ADMS (Advanced Disaster Management Simulation) Family. This particular family got its start way back in the mid 1990s (as opposed to the 60s TV family), and it began through unfortunate circumstances.
ADMS was developed following the crash of British Airtours Flight 28M at the Manchester, England, airport in 1985, in which more than 50 passengers died. The U.K. Civil Aviation Authority (CAA) commissioned the Cranfield Institute of Technology to study airport fire rescue training needs. The resulting study found responders needed a training system to practice incident command and control in a disaster, such as a simulated airport crash environment, where realistic visual and aural cues are presented for an airport fire rescue. This system needed to reproduce the stress of a real incident and trainees should be able to practice disaster management in a safe, controlled environment, with the ability to repeat exercises.
The study recommended interactive technology-based training. The Royal Air Force’s (RAF) Defence Fire Service required improved training and assessment methods through the application of interactive technology. In 1992, the RAF’s Defence Fire Service awarded a contract to ETC Simulation to design and develop such a system for emergency management. In 1994, the system was completed and installed at the RAF’s Manston facility.
Today, the ADMS-Command (U.S. version) contains 10 scenarios, each of which is completely customizable and includes injects such as a terrorist, explosions, fires and weather changes:
- 737 crash
- 757 crash
- MD-11 crash
- Fuel farm
- Hazardous materials incident
- Multi-purpose building
- Mall (department store type, not strip or “typical” mall setting)
- Road traffic accident
Other scenarios are often suggested by customers and new scenarios are scheduled for release in 2012 and beyond.
An overview of the system reveals it is a virtual reality, artificial intelligence simulation system, driven 100% by students (meaning nothing gets done unless students instruct the facilitator to do so). The facilitator executes all the commands and injects, from laying hose lines to exploding the wing tanks of airplanes. With the advanced physics engine in the system, if situations aren’t taken care of, such as burning building or injured persons, the situations will grow worse.
The ADMS system has many applications; from tactical and command training on multiple levels, to testing emergency action and business continuity plans, to promoting the collaboration between public safety and business/industry, the possibilities for using the system are almost endless.
Currently, Butler County (PA) Community College, one of only 24 systems in the continental U.S.—and one of only four at higher educational facilities—uses the system for the aforementioned applications, as well as for promotional exams for fire departments, physiological stress testing, in public safety classes and in their credit and non-credit degree and certificate programs. Butler County Community College has even made a video about its ADMS system.
From the outset, the ADMS system looks like a video game, but that’s where the similarity stops. The system is the perfect tool for bridging the gap between a tabletop drill and a full-scale exercise. Here, mistakes can be made without costing lives, property or equipment. Exercise participants can actually see and feel the situation unfold, without stretching their imagination to picture the scenario.
For more information, contact Butler County Community College ADMS Coordinator Terry Lonchena at firstname.lastname@example.org or 724/287-8711, ext. 8049.