VTRA Expanded Edition User Guide
One of the best things about Virtual Terrorism Response Academy™ Ops-Plus for WMD Hazmat Expanded Edition is this: You probably don’t need to read this manual! You’ll find lots of help as you explore the Academy. In fact, you’ll have hosts, mentors, trainers, coaches, and partners with you at almost every step. That said, if you would like a preview of what you’ll see, please read on.
You will not be able to view the online version of manual while in the Academy, so please print a hard copy for reference if you like. There is a quick start guide included with your program package that covers the main concepts of this guide. For the most recent version of this manual, please visit http://www.newvtrasite/userguide.php
©2010 Trustees of Dartmouth College. All rights reserved. QuickTime and the QuickTime logo are trademarks or registered trademarks of Apple Computer, Inc., used under license therefrom. All brands, product names and logos are trademarks of their respective owners.
This project was supported by Cooperative Agreement Number 2000-DT-CX-K001, awarded to the Institute for Security Technology Studies at Dartmouth College and administered by the U.S. Department of Homeland Security, and Grant Number 2007-GT-T7-K016, awarded to the Interactive Media Laboratory at Dartmouth College and administered by the U.S. Department of Homeland Security. Points of view or opinions in this program are those of the author and do not represent the official position or policies of the U.S. Department of Homeland Security.
1. Overview of the Program
Ops-Plus for WMD Hazmat Expanded Edition offers proven, successful training designed to prepare fire, police, and EMS personnel for WMD hazmat response. It takes place in a Virtual Terrorism Response Academy (VTRA) with many different kinds of training and topics related to terrorism response.
VTRA’s DHS-approved Performance-level training [PER-282W] is consistent with the latest revisions to NFPA 472 and is led by nationally recognized experts in hazmat and terrorism response.
Your VTRA training starts in the Hazmat Learning Lab with extensive, practical training that builds on the NFPA 472 Operations level. Using an engaging, interactive format, experts cover general hazmat topics such as instruments, WMD crime scenes, PPE, decon, triage and casualty care. After you pass a 20-question final exercise, you’ll be able to enter a tactical Simulation Area that features videogame-style simulations that will place you, first-hand, into terrorism-response scenarios.
There are additional resources, including interviews with emergency-response professionals who participated in the events of 9/11, plus talks and access to web-based resources.
Ops-Plus for WMD Hazmat Expanded Edition now features more than 18 hours of training. The program can be used individually or instructor-led, and it provides excellent preparation for hands-on courses and refresher training to keep skills sharp.
2. Getting Started
|Operating System||Windows® XP||Windows® Vista, 7|
|CPU Speed||1.5 Ghz (2 GHz recommended)||1.5 Ghz (2 GHz recommended)|
|RAM||512 MB (1 GB recommended)||1 GB (2 GB recommended)|
|Hard Drive Space||3 GB||3 GB|
|Peripherals||Keyboard; mouse or touchpad||Keyboard; mouse or touchpad|
You’ll need administrative access to the computer one time only for the installation. To install VTRA Ops-Plus for WMD Hazmat Expanded Edition, insert the install DVD into the computer’s DVD drive. (Be sure the computer is not equipped only with a CD-ROM drive.) A set-up wizard will guide you through the brief install sequence. When given the option, please DO select to periodically check for updates.
IMPORTANT NOTE FOR VISTA USERS: When a DVD spins up, a Vista dialogue box typically asks the user to click an "OK" to play the DVD. If you do not click "OK" in the brief time allowed, the installer DVD will not load.
After the program installs, you’ll be prompted to click “Finish” and launch the program. From that point, navigate through the resources as indicated. When prompted for name, address, and email information, please use the precise names you’ll want on your completion certificate. Please also include a valid email address so we can follow up with you if necessary.
VTRA requires Apple’s QuickTime 6.5 or higher to run. If you do not have QuickTime installed, or have a version earlier than 6.5, VTRA will install QuickTime 7 automatically. Unfortunately, if you have a QuickTime Pro license for version 6 (or earlier), that license will not work with QuickTime 7.
You have two ways to get the latest version of the program, including any updates and revisions:
- If you select the "periodically check for updates" box, VTRA will check for updates every time you launch the program. We strongly recommend that you select this option.
- If you leave the box unchecked, you can check for updates manually with the "Update VTRA program" in your Start folder.
To uninstall VTRA Ops-Plus for WMD Hazmat Expanded Edition, use the Windows® "Add or Remove Programs" utility.
Starting the program
To launch the program, click on the Start Menu and select "VTRA Expanded Edition" or simply double-click on the VTRA desktop icon.
Before launching the program, make sure your speaker or headphone volume is adjusted to comfortable levels. We recommend quitting all other programs while you’re using VTRA.
This program is best viewed with your screen resolution set at 800 x 600 and the color set at 32-bits (millions of colors)
The first time you launch the program, the program will automatically ask you if you want to set your screen to those settings.
Click "Yes" and check how things look. If you have a regular monitor (not the new wide-screen style), everything should look good. When you exit VTRA, the screen resolution will go back to the settings you had before starting the program.
If you have a wide screen, things may look stretched out. If that happens, you'll need to quit VTRA (using alt-F4) and adjust the settings yourself (using the monitor properties controls and, if available, the "maintain aspect ratio" control). Then re-launch the program holding down the Shift key. This will let you choose to not automatically re-size your screen.
If you’re using an LCD monitor or laptop screen, try adjusting the monitor settings so the display expands to FULL SCREEN.
If an update is available, you can choose whether to download it or continue running your existing version. If you choose to install the update, it will begin downloading. Downloads can take a long time, especially if you’re on a dial-up connection, so be patient. If it’s taking too long, click "Cancel" and you can begin using the existing program as normal. If you have canceled a download, you can pick up where you left off by doing another update.
VTRA Ops-Plus for WMD Hazmat Expanded Edition uses the FEMA Registration and Evaluation System (RES) to track student progress through the program. To get your completion certificate, you’ll need to pass the 20-question final exercise and successfully complete all six simulations. You’ll need Internet access for VTRA to automatically submit your progress to the RES.
3. The Academy
Entering the Academy
After the opening credits, you’ll be at the front door of the Academy, where you’ll go through a sign-in procedure. Click on the doorbell to the right of the door to request access.
Meeting your VTRA host
Depending upon which role you choose during sign-in, you'll meet one of three hosts who will guide you through the Virtual Academy.
Phoenix Fire Chief
California Highway Patrol
Most of the material covered is the same for all three disciplines, though there is a more-detailed triage/casualty-care section for those choosing EMS.
Your host will offer a tour. We recommend you take it. It's a good, short orientation. If you say "No," you'll get a really short orientation.
The WMD Hazmat Learning Lab
Veteran hazmat expert and retired Chicago Chief of Special Operations John Eversole leads a top instructor team. You’ll get enjoyable, interactive training about the chemistry and physics of WMD hazmat; use of hazmat instruments; PPE and decon; triage and casualty care; crime-scene management; and the Eight Step Process.© Once you’ve passed the final exercise here, you’ll be ready for the tactical evolutions in the Simulation Area!
The Simulation Area
VTRA’s Simulation Area offers a challenging, first-person-shooter environment. In the fully interactive game environment, the choices you make about PPE, instruments, size-up, and rescue drive realistic life-and-death scenarios. Master hazmat trainer Greg Noll alternates among mentor, coach, and entry-team partner roles as you apply your hazmat training in a series of tactical simulations.
The Learning Resources Room
Hear firsthand war stories and lessons learned from real responders who have faced real WMD attacks. We also cover vital topics such as incident command, operations security, risk management, and critical incident stress management. Be sure to check out the bonus features from Chief Brunacini and Gordon Graham.
The Bulletin Board
This is where you can check your progress through the course and, when you’ve concluded the last simulation, find directions for getting a Certificate of Completion. Program credits and acknowledgments are also found here.
The Web Room
If you're connected to the internet you can browse approved complementary web links from within the Academy. You can also visit these links from your standard browser at http://www.newvtrasite/webroom.php
The Instructors Lounge
This is available only to instructors who have been given the key combination.
Navigating In The Academy
Walking in the Halls
The Virtual Terrorism Response Academy features a wealth of training opportunities. One of the best ways to find them is to walk the halls and explore, same as you would in a real academy. As you move through the Academy, you’ll see the cursor turn into large arrows. The arrows do more than point the way — they’re also labeled to indicate where in VTRA they’re pointing. At some places in the Academy, you may have several choices for where to go. When you have the arrow selected, just click your mouse button to move in that direction.
A. Exit Signs
These allow you to leave the Academy and are found in several places in the hallways. Another way to leave the Academy is to click anbutton and then click .
Takes you to a birds-eye view of the Academy. You can use it to jump freely to different areas of the Academy. From the overview, you can clickto return to the place you were or to quit the program.
You can use thekey to move quickly through sections of the program that you've already seen or heard. For example, the second time you use the program, you may want to fast forward through the credits and music in order to log on more quickly. Use the key to do that.
4. The WMD Hazmat Learning Lab
Now that you know how to get around in VTRA, let’s dive in. At the end of the Academy tour, your host suggests that you see Chief Eversole in the Hazmat Learning Lab. Click on the Hazmat Learning Lab doors to enter. Chief Eversole will greet you and offer a brief overview about how the lab works and how to get your key to the Simulation Area of the Academy.
When Chief Eversole finishes his briefing, you’re free to start your training. As we’ve mentioned, the Hazmat Learning Lab offers extensive, practical training that builds on the NFPA 472 Operations level. You’ll move through the lab to a variety of stations. At each station, you’ll find a virtual lab Workbook. Each Workbook features an enjoyable, interactive environment with experts covering instruments, WMD crime scenes, PPE, decon, triage and casualty care.
Depending on how much hazmat training you’ve already had, the subjects covered in the HLL may be new or simply a refresher. You’ll need to be familiar with these subjects to pass the Final Exercise. You can take the Final Exercise any time you think you’re ready.
Navigating in the Hazmat Learning Lab
After Chief Eversole’s briefing, you have several options. Clicking on different regions of the screen leads to the Lab’s activities and talks:
A. The Left Side of the Lab
Clicking on the sign turns you to the left, which leads to stations related to Health & Safety: The Physical Threats, Triage & Casualty Care, and PPE & Decon.
B. The Right Side of the Lab
Clicking on the sign turns you to the right, which leads to stations related to Incident Response: The Eight Step Process©, Instruments, and Crime Scene.
C. The Projection Screen
Click here to get a talk by Chief Eversole where he explains the principles behind Ops-Plus for WMD Hazmat.
D. The Final Exercise Notebook
Clicking the notebook begins the Final Exercise. More about that later.
Lab Stations and Multimedia Workbooks
Navigating in the Hazmat Learning Lab is similar to walking in the halls. You can click left or right to turn to another view. Turning to the left gives you a view of the Health & Safety stations:
Each station has a multimedia lab Workbook, and you can try the stations in any order. We recommend that you start at the Physical Threats station. There's a lot of really important knowledge here. Click on the workbook to begin the station.
When you click on the Physical Threats Workbook, you'll meet your instructor and see the contents for that station. In this case, there are five distinct topics you can cover.
When you click on a topic (in this case Health Hazards 101) you'll see a table of contents and a button.
You can return to the workbook's menu (begin) screens by clicking thebutton when you pause a presentation or activity (see next section, "Controlling Presentations"). Completed sections will have a checkmark next to them. You can review sections you've already seen by clicking on the blue links in the menu. When you return to a menu screen, the button changes to a button that takes you back to where you left off.
During presentations and activities the following buttons are available at the bottom of the screen:
Takes you back one step to review material you've just covered.
Temporarily halts a presentation. When you clickyou'll get a choice to and other options, which are covered in the next section.
Skips ahead to the next section. The amount of material skipped can be a little or a lot, so use this cautiously. If clickingwould make you skip an activity, you'll get a choice whether to do the activity or skip it.
Control Options After Pausing
When you clickyou get plus two new choices: and .
Takes you to an overview of the Academy, as discussed in the "Walking the Halls" section.
Continues the presentation from where it was paused and switches back to thebutton-set.
Takes you "up a level." What you see depends on where you are in a presentation. For example, if you're at the Instruments Station and learning about radiation meters, clickingwill take you up to a menu where you can pick another instrument to review.
There are no controls like this for the simulations themselves; however, you CAN control presentations in briefings and debriefings.
The Final Exercise
After you've gone through the Workbooks, you should be well prepared for the Final Exercise. To begin, just click on the white notebook on the Hazmat Learning Lab's center station.
Chief Eversole will review your scores. You'll need to pass the 20-question Final Exercise with a score of 80 percent or better to enter the tactical Simulation Area. If you don't pass, don't worry. (In fact, most trainees don't make it on the first try.) The test is designed to help you figure out what you need to work on. Chief Eversole will suggest specific Workbooks you can review to help you pass the next time you try the Final Exercise.
When you pass, the chief will give you a keycard for the sims. Congratulations!
5. The Simulation Area
Overview of the Simulation Area
When you get your keycard, you'll be ready to enter the Simulation Area. Leave the Hazmat Learning Lab and turn right. Here's an overview that shows you the Sim Area's layout. You'll rotate through all four rooms for each simulation:
We recommend that you keep the Sim Area layout in mind using this overview. It can help you navigate more easily when you're in the VTRA halls.
The Simulation Roster
Displays all available 3D simulations.
The Briefing Room
Is where you'll receive operational information. Each simulation begins with a briefing where Greg Noll covers information you need to succeed in each sim. Each sim ends with a debriefing where Noll reviews the tactical decisions you made and the lessons learned.
The Equipment Room
Is where you'll select appropriate PPE and instruments based on the briefing.
The Simulation Room
Is where you'll actually run the sim. There's lots of great training in the Hazmat Learning Lab, but here's where the fun really starts! Most of the tactical simulations take place in what's known as "first-person-shooter" (FPS) mode. The action takes place from your point-of-view. You'll see your hand holding various types of hazmat instruments. You'll also notice displays in the lower-left and upper corners. In this case, the displays offer information about radiation.
The Debriefing/Lessons Learned Room
You’ll get feedback about the decisions you made and the sim’s outcome here.
Entering the Simulation Area
When you leave the Hazmat Learning Lab, your host will escort you to the Sim Area door. When you get to the door, use your mouse to move the cursor over the card reader next to the lock. The cursor will turn into a keycard icon. Click to open the door.
The Simulation Roster
Great, you're in! Because the sims build on one another, you'll need to complete the first sim to make the next one available. The Sim Room Trainer lets you learn how to move and interact with the video game environment; you'll need to know this for later sims. You can repeat simulations you've already run in case you want to try different tactics. Just click the completed sim on the simulation roster. If you do repeat a sim, you'll get an option to skip the briefing when you go through the "Briefing/Planning" door. That'll get you back into the action faster.
Starting a Simulation
In all sims with operational scenarios, you'll always have a partner and a back-up team. There's no freelancing. You won't see your partner, but you'll hear him. He'll be right beside you carrying his share of the instruments, and he'll be in constant contact.
By the way, if you're in a sim and need to exit before you've finished it, press the F1 key. This key should be used sparingly as your progress through the sim will not be saved. Also, F1 only works in the Sim Room, not the Briefing, Equipment, or Debriefing rooms. It also is disabled inside the simulation when:
- Greg is talking or a video is playing
- Your movement is locked while you make a decision or complete a task; and
- You are in inventory mode or in a close-up view.
You can also use the Windows icon key to temporarily leave the VTRA environment and return to your desktop. There are only a handful of places within VTRA where time-based activities would prevent you from pausing the program.
Sim Room Navigation
|Mouse||Controls where you LOOK: up, down, all around. You use the mouse and arrow keys together. The up arrow key moves you forward in direction you're looking.|
|Up Arrow or W||Move forward.|
|Down Arrow or S||Move backward.|
|Left Arrow or A||Sidestep left.|
|Right Arrow or D||Sidestep right.|
|Page Down or C||Lets you crouch. You'll need that to get through the training simulation. You'll also use it in later simulations, like when you want to survey areas near the ground for hazmat.|
|Spacebar||Leads to an inventory of things you're carrying, like hazmat instruments. In later sims this lets you select and adjust different kinds of equipment. Press the spacebar a second time to exit inventory mode.|
Last thing is to make yourself comfortable. If you can, shift things around so that the mouse and arrow keys are centered in front of you like this:
If you're using a laptop trackpad things work basically the same. If you can plug in and use an external mouse, you may have an easier time going through VTRA.
You’ll have working instruments and SCBA for all the sims after the training level. To change settings, you’ll need to go into your inventory. When you press the space bar, you can see and interact with the items you’re carrying in the 3D simulations. You can activate instruments and gear by clicking on the icons along the bottom of the screen. Press the space bar again to return to the 3D sim environment. If an option is not currently available or appropriate, you will hear a "ping."
Interacting with objects in simulations
While you're in the simulations, you may need to interact with various objects and people. You'll need to push buttons, use various probes, examine documents, and change settings on your instruments. One way you can tell if you can interact with an object is by moving your point of view until the center, white crosshair (reticle) is on the object.
You'll notice the reticle follows your mouse motions. It indicates where you're looking within the sim environment. When a reticle surrounds an area or object, you can click your mouse button to get a close-up view; it is ALWAYS operationally safe to click with the reticle.
Here's what this dosimeter looks like in the close-up view.
If you choose to handle the object in this close-up view, which might NOT be operationally safe, here are tools you can use:
You can review your Inventory in 3D simulations for maps, diagrams, checklists, etc.
Exiting the simulations
We've covered this before, but it's a useful reminder. The simulations don't have a "pause" button. During the sims, your mouse and keyboard control the movements and actions in the 3D environment; most standard Windows® keyboard commands are not allowed. If you need to exit from a sim before you've finished it, tap F1 and you'll get a dialog box that lets you exit. You won't be able to save your progress through that simulation. Again, you can also use the Windows icon key to temporarily leave the VTRA environment and return to your desktop.
6. The Bulletin Board
This icon will appear on the bulletin board upon successful completion of the Final Exercise and all simulations. To get a printable completion certificate, you must visit http://www.vtranewsite/cert/ and fill out a web form with the appropriate information. Clicking the icon will take you to a screen with instructions for doing this.
B. Production Credits
The blue folder contains credits recognizing the people and institutions behind VTRA: Ops-Plus for WMD Hazmat Expanded Edition.
The red folder contains additional acknowledgments of people and institutions that played an integral part in making the program.
D. Student Progress Report
Your current progress is always available in the manila folder on the bulletin board. Clicking on the folder will show a report of your current progress through the Academy. Clickingon the report screen will open an external web browser from which you can save or print your report.
E. Jim Page & John Eversole Posters
These posters memorialize the lives and careers of Jim Page and John Eversole.
7. Related Web Links
The VTRA Web Room offers browsing of selected, complementary sites. You can also visit these links in any web browser using the URL http://www.newvtrasite/webroom.php
If you use VTRA's embedded browser, you may find some sites launch a new browser window. To get back to VTRA, just click on the VTRA tab on your Windows® taskbar.
- I can't run the program because I have a limited (or restricted) user account.
- You’ll need to have your system administrator or someone with administrator privileges launch VTRA for the first time. Thereafter, you’ll be able to use the program even with restricted access.
- My audio sounds distorted.
- QuickTime 7.1.3 introduces problems on certain machines that cause severe audio distortion when more than one sound source of sound plays at once. This happens during the log-in to the program (the ambient sound of birds chirping while being guided through the log-in procedure) and throughout the simulations. One workaround is to quit VTRA, and open the Apple QuickTime player and go to Edit -> Preferences -> QuickTime Preferences. Open the "Audio" tab and under the "Sound Out" entries change the value for "Size" to 24 bit. Click OK and re-launch VTRA. The places that play more than one sound simultaneously should work fine.
- VTRA crashes as soon as I hit "Begin."
- On rare occasions, versions of QuickTime on certain computers are not compatible with accelerated video rendering. If VTRA crashes immediately upon clicking "Begin," this may be the problem. Try quitting VTRA, then opening QuickTime Player. Under the Edit menu, choose Preferences > QuickTime Preferences. Choose the "Advanced" tab, then select the "Safe mode (GDI only)" option in the "Video" section. Click OK and try opening VTRA again. In some cases, changing the "Safe mode" option for the "Audio" section may be necessary as well.
- The screen looks distorted or too small.
- VTRA does its best to change your monitor resolutions at start-up to make the size of the videos be as big as possible. (This applies to LCD monitors and laptop displays.) However, because of variations in hardware and software, it may not be able to do this well. Sometimes the image remains small, or even stretched/distorted. If this happens, exit the program if it’s running and try manually changing your monitor settings. Right-click on the Windows® desktop and choose "Properties." Click the "Settings" tab and drag the slider for "Screen Area" to 800x600. Click "OK" and re-launch VTRA. You’ll need to go back into the Properties to re-size your monitor size manually when you’re finished running VTRA.
9. VTRA Software License Agreement
Copyright © 2012
World 2 Systems