Thursday, August 31, 2006

A Computer Game for Real-Life Crises

Disaster Simulator's Maker Gives It to Municipal Emergency Departments

Just over a year ago, Joe Barlow, a paramedic in Illinois, spent a week testing a computer game called Incident Commander, a training simulator that gives players a lead role in managing crisis situations such as terrorist attacks and natural disasters.

Days later, he used his virtual experience in a real-life situation: the aftermath of Hurricane Katrina. He was put in charge of an 800-bed hospital in Baton Rouge, La., and found that many of the decisions he made there stemmed from what he learned by playing the game.

The Justice Department put up the money for development so that municipalities could use it for free.

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