DHS has a video game-like trainer for active shooter incidents

The Unreal engine-built “EDGE” is available to any first responder in the US.

Today, the Department of Homeland Security's Science and Technology Directorate announced the release of a virtual training platform for active shooter incidents. The Enhanced Dynamic Geo-Social Environment, or EDGE, is a program that creates a virtual active shooter scenario through which first responders can train themselves. EDGE launches today and is free for all first responders.

The platform was built on Epic Games' Unreal engine, which has also been used to create training programs for NASA astronauts and the US Army. The scenario that's available now is set in a 26-story hotel in Sacramento, California and every part of the hotel is accessible to the trainee. First responders from different disciplines can train side by side and different setups can be created depending on what training lesson instructors want to focus on.

"In this day and age, it is essential that responders have every tool at their disposal to prepare for and respond to critical incidents," William N. Bryan, Acting DHS Under Secretary for Science and Technology, said in a statement, "When decisions must be made in a matter of seconds, every bit of training helps to save civilian and responder lives. EDGE harnesses the power of cutting-edge gaming and defense technology to make training accessible, engaging, and affordable to all responders -- from rural volunteers to those serving our major metropolitan areas."

A second training scenario is scheduled to be released this fall and it's a school shooting scene -- fitting in the most horrifying of ways. A video on the DHS website is available for more information on EDGE.