What is Hazmat: Hotzone?

Hazmat: Hotzone is a networked, multiplayer simulation that uses videogame technology to train first responders for chemical and hazardous materials emergencies.

It is designed to give the instructor maximum control and flexibility over the scenario. For the first responder trainees, the primary objective of the simulation is communication, observation, and critical decision making.

The program begins with an instructor creating the hazardous scenario. They are able to determine such factors as the location of the hazard, its effects, the weather conditions, and the placement and symptoms of the victims involved.

Once the scenario has been set by the instructor, the students who are situated at their own computer stations will log into the scenario. One student assumes the role of the incident commander and establishes a decontamination zone. The others students communicate over radios and respond to the situation accordingly.

The instructor has the ability to pause the game or trigger unexpected actions and secondary events at any time. They may even incapacitate a first responder who has taken an unsafe action. When the scenario has been completed, the instructor can then lead a discussion using specific examples of what actions were and were not effective. The scenario can then be repeated to test for lessons learned, or a new scenario can be loaded to train for different situations.

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Firefighters aid civilians out of the subway
Hazmat: Hotzone 2002-2005, Entertainment Technology Center and Carnegie Mellon University. All rights reserved.