School shootings are a tragedy that unfortunately keep happening in America.
These shootings put kids in danger and thrust teachers into rolls they never thought they’d have to take.
So, the U.S. Army and the Homeland Security Department developed a computer-based simulator using video game technology and animation called EDGE, to train teachers and first responders how to react in an active shooter scenario.
“With teachers, they did not self-select into a role where they expect to have bullets flying near them. That's something that they did not choose,” said Tamara Griffith from the Army Research Laboratory in Orlando Florida.
EDGE was originally developed for the Army but has been adapted for schools.
About one third of mass shootings occur in a school, according to FBI data.
"We can prevent a lot of these deaths, we can prepare people better,” Griffith said. “We can make this a safer environment if we can get this into the hands of the right people."
Researches studied real life tragedies, such as Sandy Hook and Columbine to build the simulations.
“We sat with the mother of a child who died at Sandy Hook, and she walked through the entire event….so that we could emulate that in the virtual environment,” Griffith said.
The training can be done remotely from a home computer and allows people to play the role of police or school staff to simulate the live training.
“A lot of these features allow teachers to test out things that have been tried,” said Bob Walker, EDGE project manager, “For example, at Virginia Tech they found barricading the doors worked very well. So, this gives school districts the ability to try out different things, see what works for their given environment."
The Army Research Lab plans to make the school version available soon for free.
The Associated Press contributed to this report.