Image demonstrating Fire officers from Northumberland completed wildfire training project

Fire officers from Northumberland completed wildfire training project

Helping to protect Northumberland’s beautiful landscape, NFRS have been working to improve planning, preparation and response to wildfires. 
Officers from Northumberland Fire and Rescue Service were part of a European wide wildfire training course named IGNIS - Initiative for Global Management of big fires through Simulation. 
IGNIS was a 2 year project involving four European partners who designed and developed a wildfire simulation tool to train fire officers across Europe in the command and control of large and destructive wildfires. 
The four IGNIS partners were France’s National Training School for Fire Fighters (ENTENTE pour la forêt Méditerranéenne (EPLFM)); the Italian National Fire Corps (Corpo Nazionale dei Vigili del Fuoco (CNVVF)); the Portuguese National School for Fire Fighters (Escola Nacional de Bombeiros (ENB) and Northumberland Fire and Rescue Service (NFRS).
The IGNIS simulation tool consists of a network of computers that run advanced gaming-style software which present officers with a realistic virtual environment that is as close to real life conditions as possible. The simulation tool shows commanders what they would see at a wildfire incident and they need to use knowledge, skills and experience to gather and process information to make informed decisions on how to safely and effectively command the incident.
Each of the four partners from across Europe designed and developed different complex wildfire scenarios designed to test commanders’ abilities to safely and effectively respond to changes that may occur during the course of a wildfire incident, such as, changes in rate and direction of fire spread. 
Paul Hedley, Chief Fire Officer, Northumberland County Council, said: “The IGNIS project has been an extremely ambitious project and some major advances have been made over a relatively short period of time. 
“Working with partners across Europe has allowed us to develop a fantastic training tool that allows officers to train in wildfire management in a realistic, real-time environment.
“The purpose of the tool is to provide a virtual reality setting in which different parts of the command system work together, replicating management of a real-life wildfire, ensuring the command structures work seamlessly, ultimately keeping people safe.”
Northumberland County Councillor John Riddle, cabinet member with responsibility for the fire and rescue service said: “Having the ability to train for wildfire incidents is invaluable to our Fire and Rescue Service especially as a rural fire service where wildfires are a potential risk. 
“I am very proud of the work carried out by NFRS within this project and we can use this experience and knowledge to take us forward and continue to work together with colleagues across Europe.”
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