FBI, Homeland Security Evacs Avatars for Disaster Training

Since the tragic attacks on the World Trade Centre in 2001, the whole world has been cautious about who they can trust, where they’ll stay safe and what events/places to avoid as a precaution. Sports stadiums and arenas can hold thousands in a concentrated area and last year, the Department of Homeland Security and the FBI warned that terrorists could take an interest in attacking these venues, while at full capacity.

Officials are aware of the threat of a possible attack and have been planning what to do, should something ever happen and all of the crowds need to be evacuated quickly. One can only imagine the pandemonium that would start if a bomb went off or a poisonous gas was released into the area.

With no way to mimic what would actually happen if a terrorist-style incident were to happen, a software was developed to simulate what events might take place and how to prepare for them. SportEvac is being developed and tested by the National Center for Spectator Sports Safety & Security (NCS4) at the University of Southern Mississippi.

“SportEvac isn’t simply more realistic,” says program manager Mike Matthews of S&T’s Infrastructure and Geophysical Division. “It will be a national standard.”

Developers are using actual blueprints from stadiums and arenas in order to create a perfect replica of each venue. This helps to accurately predict and plan what could potentially happen in an emergency situation. Exact sizes of rooms, hallways and location of every door and exit are helpful planning tools.

Virtual 3D e-stadiums are being designed with as many as 70,000 fans as well as the appropriate amount of staff members, in the form of avatars. This is the first program that has allowed developers to simulate such a large number of people accurately. It also includes simulated ambulances, EMT’s, fire trucks and many other items that might be involved.

As well, unlike earlier simulation software, SportEvac is able to predict what type of behavior or unexpected incidences might occur during an emergency. Things like a person going back for a forgotten item, an elderly person falling and is unable to get up or someone with a walker or a wheelchair holding up all of the scared and impatient people behind.

All of these things could happen, but with the help of SportEvac, developers will know what to do in even the most bizarre situation and evacuate everyone as safely as possible.

[Source: Homeland Security]

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