By Alan Shope, Multimedia Journalist - bio | email
OLATHE, KS (KCTV) -
Trying to avoid accidents by making drivers safer is the goal of the Olathe Fire Department. The department is taking a test drive without even leaving their building.
The fire truck driving simulator is a little bit real life and a little bit sci-fi.
The Olathe Fire Department is using it to do all they can to make fire truck drivers the safest they can be. That's why they got the simulator that allows participants to drive over 100 miles, without using any fossil fuels.
"What we have is a driving simulator, we can set individuals up in a virtual world so if there's mistakes to be had we can do it on the machine and learn by the mistakes," said Ed Reschke, the chief of training for the Olathe Fire Department.
Driving a fire truck can be a handful and drivers said the simulator is just about as realistic as driving the real thing.
"It's set up just like our fire trucks - all the controls are the same. Basically, you have your air brakes and your lights and everything else," Jason Seipel said.
The Olathe Fire Department has had the simulator for about a year now and this is the second class to go through the program.
While the simulator looks like a lot of fun, fire officials are quick to point out it's no game.
"It's not a game, it's not a game, it's a tool - a tool we can use to improve on our driving skills, we can set up scenes if we're having issues with certain traits, whether it be backing or turning," Reschke said.
The goal is for drivers to be safer on the streets.
The simulator was purchased with a grant from FEMA for $140,000 and can also simulate ambulances and other emergency response vehicles.
Copyright 2013 KCTV (Meredith Corp.) All rights reserved.
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