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Virtual Reality and Augmented Reality Are Here

Both VR and AR can help your programs.

If you start exploring the types of virtual reality systems that exist today or on the cusp of being fielded, I think you will be surprised about the applications that are available. For instance, it was around 1997 that we started to develop digital fire plans. What if those plans had a VR component that allowed firefighters to walk through a building filled with smoke, but have a facial screen display that shows the layout of the building and interior rooms? That combined with heat signature sensors would help them to be safe and navigate simple and complex buildings. 

Eric Holdeman is a contributing writer for Emergency Management magazine and is the former director of the King County, Wash., Office of Emergency Management.