(Screen grab from video by Department of Homeland Security)

It’s early February 2018, and already this year there have been at least 14 incidents in schools with guns, some of them deadly. If the number surprises you, it may be because some of these events have gotten little coverage in the news because they have become sickeningly routine.

That, in fact, is what Katherine W. Schweit, a former senior FBI official and the co-author of a study of 160 active shooting incidents in the United States, recently told the New York Times: “We have absolutely become numb to these kinds of shootings, and I think that will continue.”

With active shooting situations in schools no longer uncommon, the Department of Homeland Security is now offering online training for teachers and first-responders to prepare for such a disaster — right on their computers.

The available training is explained in a video on the department website called “Enhanced Dynamic Geo-Social Environment (EDGE) Virtual Training Revisited,” which explains a free computer-based training tool that includes a virtual school environment for multiagency training for active shooter incidents. It was first reported by the Times, here.

Such training had been available depicting an active shooter in a 26-story hotel, according to Milt Nenneman, project manager of First Responders Group for the Department of Homeland Security. Now, there’s a simulation in a large school, which has an auditorium, cafeteria, gymnasium and a lot of classrooms.

Training is offered for teachers, staff and administrators, he said, which “will allow schools and law enforcement to train to a response without disrupting the students and be able to train repeatedly.”

The training can be done on computer.

“Virtual training doesn’t replace actual hands-on training,” Nenneman said, but will “augment” it.

A release by the department said the training video was built on the Unreal gaming engine, which powers interactive video games such as Mortal Kombat, BioShock and Batman: Arkham City.

“EDGE allows responders to collaboratively role-play complex scenarios in a virtual environment, improving coordination and communication while mitigating injuries and loss of lives,” the release said.


(Screen grab from video by Department of Homeland Security)