GW institute releases game to aid first responders

GW’s Homeland Security Policy Institute recently launched “Zero Hour: America’s Medic,” a video game that simulates emergency situations, to help emergency medical technicians better prepared for large-scale crises.

The Department of Homeland Security approved “Zero Hour” nearly a week ago and 250 people have already signed up to utilize the software, said Gregg Lord, director of the National Association of Emergency Medical Technicians and a senior policy analyst with HSPI.

HSPI was awarded a $4.8 million grant from the Office of Homeland Security as part of a National EMS Preparedness Initiative, meant to help first responders better navigate disaster areas like ground zero.

“We asked to do something a little bit more innovative and utilize gaming as a methodology to increase the response rates to large-scale incidents,” Lord said. He helped develop the software along with Virtual Inc., a company that specializes in video game development.

The video game creates scenarios that grow progressively more complex and difficult to control as the game progresses. Lord said that for now, “Zero Hour” is an online video game. Those wishing to play must pay the $14.95 download fee.

The game is targeted to emergency responders, like paramedics and EMTs, but anyone can download the program.

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