National Library of Medicine Virtual Training
Emergency Management Training in “Second Life”
Last year, the CHHS Exercise and Training team paired up with the National Library of Medicine (NLM) and Suburban Hospital in Bethesda, M.D. to develop a virtual training software program to train hospital employees on the Hospital Incident Command System (HICS). In January 2013, following the program’s first successful exercise in June 2012, Suburban Hospital hosted an evacuation exercise developed by CHHS and NLM. The exercise was facilitated in the virtual world using the computer game Second Life as a virtual platform. Participants used game “avatars” in various HICS positions to respond to environmental changes and injects created by the exercise facilitators.
Injects tested participants’ abilities to communicate vital information and perform discrete tasks associated with their HICS positions. In addition to evaluating hospital staff’s response during the exercise, facilitators evaluated and assessed the practicality of this online virtual training environment. The recent successful exercise—and participants’ positive feedback—fuel CHHS’ commitment to moving forward with the software program. The hope is to eventually develop an autonomous program for staff to engage in HICS training independently.