Emergency Response Driver Training Simulator (ERDTS) systems enable students to take the knowledge taught to them in lecture and develop it into real-time decision-making skills. When networked together with other ERDTS systems, students can interact with each other and work on improving interagency coordination of an incident. ERDTS isn’t just about the driving, but also the scene survey, vehicle placement, mitigation, and secondary device awareness.
ERDTS systems bring the learning objectives from a linear approach to a dynamic, fluid application that develops real-world experience without the real-world hazards when mistakes are made.
ERDTS allows the student to not only learn about the various hazards associated with responding, but also experience the explosions, flames and varying traffic patterns in all types of weather conditions, both in the day and at night. All this is then critiqued by the student and instructor, developing a decision tree that translates into experience.
Agencies that use ERDTS systems often create a curriculum that follows a pyramid approach, beginning with basic skill-building-type exercises and culminates with complex, multi-tasking, decision-making requirements.
Since NFPA 1451 recently was amended to include simulation training along with road driving, agencies now are able to combine real-vehicle driving with the enhanced high-risk, low-frequency driving scenarios in the ERDTS to graduate a highly competent, highly experienced, apparatus operator.
Check with state and local laws pertaining to personal vehicles used in emergency response situations. Not all states recognize the use of emergency lighting and/or sirens on personal vehicles and not all states allow exemptions to be made by that vehicle’s operator.