Emergency response systems dealing with large scale disasters such as earthquakes, fires, floods, volcanic eruptions, etc. require to be as effective and efficient as possible in order to mitigate their impact on our societies.
Among the problems to deal with during the response to a disaster are decision making with incomplete information and in presence of cascading effects. It is well known that usually people with larger disaster response experience make better decisions, and their mental structures seem to be not achieved by traditional training methods. On the other hand, as we cannot create large scale realistic real world training environments, we need to explore for technology that allows us to reduce this gap. This project proposes to use Serious Video Games to accomplish such goal. Finally, Chile might be one the "best " natural laboratories for researching on disasters, and as such this research project can be also approached as a big opportunity for the country.
The solution proposed in this project is based on developing Serious Video Games, which are culturally tuned to tackle weaknesses decision making when a) there is incomplete information, and b) there are cascading effects.
This project includes the development of two type of scenarios: wildfire occurring on protected areas from the V region in Chile, in close collaboration with CONAF, and quick structural assessment of critical physical infrastructure such as bridges and buildings, in close collaboration with MOP-Academia. Also, ONEMI will be part of the development and testing of the project.
The video game scenarios are first person 3D type, stand alone or network operation.
Once the video game scenarios and platform are built, it will be used to conduct a wide range of experimentation to understand emerging cause-effect relations between decisions-actions for both individual and group settings, for incomplete information and cascading effects conditions.
Key deliverables of this project will be: a) a wildfire video game scenario, b) a video game scenario to assess structural soundness of critical physical infrastructure affected by disasters, c) lessons learned and decision making guide for emergency response decision making facing incomplete information and cascading effects, and d) a web-based platform prototype to mediate and facilitate user and group training on the scenarios developed.
The receivers of these deliverables will be CONAF, that will utilize the prototype to assess decision making processes with emphasis on the first scenario; MOP-Academia, that focuses on using the tool to conduct training on structural engineers conducting structural stability assessment on critical infrastructure affected by disasters; and ONEMI, that will coordinate the whole effort with the previously mentioned agencies, and plan future steps/developments, as well.