It’s fire season here in California. It came a little early this year thanks to the severe drought the state has been experiencing. Along with this comes the fire safety guidelines and tips from the Fire Department who is working overtime like crazy.
It reminded us of a project we are part of all the way across the country in NYC. Where they don't have wild fires raging across chaparral, but they do have acres and acres of buildings with people inside. Fire safety is a big deal in such a clustered urban setting which is why the FDNY Foundation create the Fire Zone: a state of the art fire safety learning center.
In this fully interactive environment children (and adults!) learn through hands on experience about the danger of a fire in the city. You can actually climb on a fire truck, put on the protective gear the firemen wear, and talk to a real fire fighter. With just enough reality to drive the lessons home kids and grown-ups alike are encouraged to feel the “hot” door, and to learn how to crawl in a smoke filled hall way with the lights out.
Fires are terrifyingly dangerous but the Fire Zone equips everyone with the knowledge and tools they need to create an emergency fire plan, how to identify potential fire hazards in their homes, and how to respond in a fire. There is even a fire simulation, which yeah, is a little scary, but it sure makes you think. And makes you thankful for the work that the fire department does. The aftermath of the fire is explained in detail and children can actually see the effects of a fire on a residence.
“The goals for the project was to update the systems to contemporary technology, reduce the annual-maintenance costs, and improve the quality of the presentation. FireZone2.0 had to also include updated video-footage, and an entire new element, an interactive multi-touch-kiosk where the educators (retired firefighters) can answer specific questions and support the responses with pictures, 3D-models, or other info from the internet or searching the on-board library to retrieve the data. FireZone also attracts a lot of walk-in traffic; firefighters from all over the world come to visit. Anything displayed on the kiosk displays on the overhead- projection screen to share with the audience.”
In this video project designer Frank Coleman describes the experience and its technology. He talks about the touch screen feature which is none other than the CyberTouch 32” multitouch Rio touch screen! We love how he describes being able to bring up websites, flip through content like a book, and interact with the screen as if it was a giant tablet – which as we well know, the kiddos are all about.
If you’re ever in NYC you are welcome to stop by and see what’s going on at the Fire Zone. They’re located in Rockefeller Center just next to the Radio City Music Hall. It’s a truly eye opening experience that could save a life. So check it out.
Meanwhile, everyone here in sunny CA, take extra precaution this year! Pretend that the entire state is just one piece of kindling ready to ignite – because that’s pretty much what’s happening. Stay safe, and best wishes and prayers to all our fire fighters.
(Images and information in this blog are courtesy of FDNY Foundation, Videosonic, and Frank Coleman.)