In Australia, authorities have released a VR experience designed to educate citizens about the dangers of bushfires. “Bushfires”, for the non-Aussies out there, are essentially just wildfires. However, most of Australia is covered by forest (the bush), and this, combined with high temperatures, means that bushfires are a very present safety concern for Australians.
However, some people may not be experienced with bushfires or know what to do when they happen. To combat this, authorities released a Bushfire Virtual Reality Experience on Facebook to provide a simulated version of a bushfire and to walk viewers through three different scenarios.
While you could probably accomplish the same goal with a normal video or detailed written instructions, VR is useful in this scenario due to the interactive element. When people are interacting with information rather than just passively observing it, they’re more likely to retain it. Making the PSA interactive helps people retain its information and thus is more likely to help them when the time comes.
Take two minutes to safely experience three likely fire scenarios on an Extreme Fire Danger Rating day, as fire surrounds a virtual home and includes many elements of a fast approaching bushfire such as ember attack, radiant heat, low oxygen levels and lack of visibility due to smoke. If a bushfire threatened your home, would you know what to do? There’s no questioning the facts, leaving early on high risk days before a bushfire starts is always the safest option. You should always monitor warnings on high risk days and check Fire Danger Ratings daily throughout summer. Be prepared: http://emergency.vic.gov.au/prepare/#fire/preparing-for-firesWARNING: This is a replicated bushfire scenario. Having a reaction to the experience is likely and forms part of the learning exercise, however, some people may be adversely affected, so it is recommended that you do not participate if you have suffered, or are currently impacted by any physical or mental health conditions.
Posted by Vic Emergency on Wednesday, January 3, 2018
We’ve embedded this 4-minute Virtual Reality experience above, if you’re interested in watching it. Once you have, tell us: do you think an interactive format like this is more likely to help you in a time of crisis? Or do you think that it wouldn’t make a big difference?