News and Announcements

VTRA featured on "Homeland Security: Inside & Out"

March 18, 2008

IML Director Joe Henderson appeared on the March 18, 2008, episode of "Homeland Security: Inside & Out" to discuss the Virtual Terrorism Response Academy. The weekly one-hour show on public radio airs on WAMU 88.5 FM in Washington, DC, and on KAMU 90.9 FM in College Station, Texas. Each week, hosts Randy Larsen [Director, The Institute for Homeland Security] and Dave McIntyre [Director, Integrative Center for Homeland Security] interview key federal, state and local leaders, plus senior leaders in the academic community, private sector, and national media outlets. For more information, please visit the "Homeland Security: Inside & Out" site.

Listen to VTRA excerpt here.

VTRA featured in satellite broadcast "Live Response"

February 27, 2008

Dr. Joseph Henderson and Mike Callan discussed the VTRA project on Live Response, a 60-minute interactive satellite television broadcast, presented by the The National Terrorism Preparedness Institute (NTPI) at St. Petersburg College (SPC).

You can view the show in its entirety or just the 5-minute news segment by selecting from the following:

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Dartmouth College develops video game-based WMD simulation

July 11, 2007

From the magazine Fire Engineering.

Press release in Infogram newsletter

June 14, 2007

VTRA coverage fourth item in the U.S. Fire Administration's Critical Infrastructure Protection's newsletter, Infograms.

VTRA mentioned on FS-World

June 13, 2007

Read the press release here.

New WMD training uses video game software

June 4, 2007

WASHINGTON, June. 4 (UPI) -- Researchers at a U.S. Ivy League school have developed a remote training system for first responders using an adapted video game.

The training course, which deals with the dangers responders would face after a terrorist attack with chemical, biological or radiological weapons, known as CBR, is the first product of the Virtual Terrorism Response Academy at Dartmouth College in Hanover, N.H.

"This has been in development for four years," Timothy Elliott, a spokesman for Dartmouth's Interactive Media Laboratory, which houses the academy, told United Press International. He said that the first person simulator in the game was adapted from the video game Quake II and that it used video of real experts in CBR response and cleanup. In the game, trainees used accurately modeled instruments, answer various CBR-related questions, and made tactical decisions, he said.

"The trainee faces a series of increasingly challenging tactical situations," said the lab's Director Joseph Henderson in a statement." The choices the trainee makes drive realistic scenarios that would involve life-and-death consequences during real incidents."

The simulation was the middle of three portions of the course -- preceded by a virtual classroom and followed with an electronic debriefing, again employing video of real trainers, explaining the significance and impact of the trainees' actions during the simulation.

Henderson said the program was designed to address what he called the "national problem" of first responders being issued CBR equipment and instruments they aren't fully trained to use.

The academy was launched with funding from the Department of Homeland Security, and it will help first responders "achieve one of the overarching national (preparedness) priorities, which is strengthening chemical, biological, radiological, nuclear, and explosive detection, response, and decontamination," said Corey Gruber, of the Federal Emergency Management Agency.

Shaun Waterman, UPI Homeland and National Security Editor

© Copyright United Press International. All Rights Reserved.

Homeland Security Daily Wire

June 4, 2007

The military has long been interested in video game-based simulation technology, using it for everything from training pilots to honing sniper shooting skills. Now, first responders are getting into the act. ... full article at

IAFC announces VTRA

May 22, 2007

The IAFC Homeland Protection & Security Weekly, May 22 issue announced VTRA's availability and reviewing the program. Here is the lead-in for the story:.
HANOVER, N.H. - Dartmouth's Interactive Media Laboratory (IML) has launched a new, videogame-based training program for first responders featuring simulated terrorist attacks using weapons of mass destruction.... full article at IAFC archives.

Fire service loses hazmat community leader

May 21, 2007

The staff of the Interactive Media Lab are saddened to note the passing of Hazmat guru, VTRA Mentor and friend John Eversole. John died May 20th, 2007, in Chicago. You may read an overview of John's career and details about his memorial on this page on the IAFC's site.

You terrorists can go Quake in your boots

May 18, 2007

David Berlind at ZD/Net wrote a nice piece about VTRA in his article Dartmouth engineering students go green, go fast, go everywhere, in balanced fashion. David participated in a panel discussion Tech Media Summit at Dartmouth's Thayer School of business and learned of VTRA there from our staffers Tim Elliott and Josh Nelson.


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