Disaster Control Simulation Training at the BayZBE

Natural disasters, terrorist attacks, pandemics and other exceptional situations usually occur completely unexpected. This obvious fact makes it immensely difficult for emergency forces to train specifically for such dangerous situations. The question is: How should one prepare for something whose exact circumstances and effects cannot be foreseen? With its technically advanced simulation center, the BayZBE offers an extremely versatile approach to solving this dilemma.

There has been an attack. Several uniformed rescue forces can be seen at an overturned public bus. They are crouching next to an unconscious, seriously injured pedestrian and giving first aid. The situation is critical, every second counts. Some oncoming cars appear on the busy street. Screeching tyres and horns can be heard. And screams. The whole scene is accompanied by flickering blue lights and the deafening wail of sirens. The paramedics check the patient's vital signs, frantically discuss the situation, and hastily exchange information. The stress and tension can be seen in their faces. They decide to contact headquarters as soon as possible: important instructions and further support are urgently needed. Especially since it is not clear where the terrorists are, whether they are still here or whether they might return. The situation is hardly predictable, difficult to control. Human lives are in danger.
In such a critical situation, every move, every piece of information and the perfect interaction of the emergency forces are of decisive importance.

Cut. We now see a group of people sitting in a semicircle watching the described scenario via a smartboard. And despite the drastic events that are pictured on the screen, they remain quite calm, observe what is happening, take notes and discuss what they have seen. The images seem to interest them more than they disturb them. But why? Because it is not real. Although it does seem so real. It is a video recording. More precisely, it is a recording of a simulation training that took place hours before. We are in a debriefing room where a terror simulation exercise is being reviewed. The screen of the smartboard comprises several sections, each showing different perspectives of the event. Using a tablet, the instructor stops or speeds up the recording as needed, changes the video and/or audio tracks and jumps to previously made annotations and notes. The participants of the debriefing can thus view, measure, discuss and evaluate all aspects of the recorded simulation training in detail - every movement, every procedure, every communication. This is how disaster control training works in the 21st century.

The BayZBE - a Center for Innovation

The scenes described - the simulated rescue operation and the separately held debriefing - take place at the BayZBE, the Bavarian Center for Special Operations. The joint project of several aid organizations (ASB, BRK, JUH and MHD) and the Bavarian Ministry of the Interior, which was established in 2019 at Windischeschenbach in the northern Oberpfalz, offers emergency and management staff of Bavarian aid organizations the opportunity to prepare for extraordinary situations by means of target-orientated training. As a decentrally organized teaching and competence center, it specializes in professional simulation training and training evaluation of crisis situations - such as terror and amok, but also pandemics and natural disasters. The aim of the exercises is for emergency forces to practice important skills and processes in realistic simulation training sessions and, in addition, to be able to analyze, understand, and improve these training processes in separate debriefing sessions with the help of complex AV systems. Especially the latter - the well-founded analysis in form of a debriefing - is crucial to achieve maximum and above all long-term learning success for the participants from the singular experience of the training.

With its offers, the BayZBE provides an effective approach to solving an acute problem: namely, how emergency forces can prepare themselves sensibly and effectively for dangerous situations that are per se unpredictable and difficult to control. With its 1,500 m² indoor and 500 m² outdoor area - the BayZBE is one of the largest simulation centers in Europe - the training facility not only provides the emergency forces with the necessary space, but also with a variety of design elements (e.g., fully equipped ambulances) and the perfectly coordinated audio-video equipment: in order to enable practical trainings for leadership, tactics, organization and communication in a completely flexible way. With its equipment, infrastructure, and the associated training opportunities, the BayZBE, which operates nationwide, is now recognized throughout Europe as an incubator for innovations and developments in the areas of simulation, operational programme and disaster training and enjoys a high reputation far beyond the borders of Bavaria. This reputation is the result of years of planning and challenging work. And it is also the result of extremely intensive and productive cooperation.

BayZBE, SIMStation & Axis - Partner of Innovation

The cooperation between BayZBE and SIMStation began with a project tender, which SIMStation won in 2018. The original order was to integrate a complex AV system into the building of the planned center. Over time, this task has evolved into a long-term partnership with the ambitious goal of continuously implementing new and innovative developments and thus advancing simulation technology. The collaborative realization of the highly motivated project covered all aspects of the project, from consulting and planning to installation, commissioning, and maintenance. Today's result (further developments are planned!) represents one of the most extensive SIMStation installations in the world to date: a completely customized AV system, consisting specifically of an individually set-up SIMStation Enterprise and a fully compatible and mobile SIMStation Pro Gen 2. Several freely configurable stations for simulation, control (partly mobile) and debriefing can be intelligently networked via the SIMNet and thus individually combined and used. In particular, the possibility of the flexibly adaptable AV system guarantees numerous application possibilities that can be carried out fast and easily.

All these features not only allow the BayZBE to respond perfectly to the specific requirements and learning objectives of the simulation participants and training concepts, but also to establish its own introductory courses in the general principles of technical simulation systems. The participants are familiarized with the theoretical background of the intuitively usable technology so that they can subsequently design and carry out simulations completely independently. All this is only possible thanks to the uncompromisingly application-oriented system solutions used at BayZBE. These are realized through an interplay of the feature-rich SIMStation Software and many high-quality hardware components; the latter includes innovative high-end hardware, such as camera technology supplied by our long-standing and exclusive partner Axis. The combination of reliable functionality and individually deployable product lines - in the case of BayZBE, the AXIS Q6125-LE Dome Network Cameras and AXIS P14 Series Bullet Cameras - guarantees the best transmission results and impresses with its surprisingly simple application.
The basic idea: Just plug in and simulate!

The BayZBE - Bavarian Centre for Special Operations

Bayerisches Zentrum für besondere Einsatzlagen gGmbH is a non-profit company and was founded at the beginning of August 2019. The shareholders include the four aid organizations Arbeiter-Samariter-Bund Bayern e. V. (ASB), Bayerische Rote Kreuz KdÖR (BRK), Johanniter-Unfall-Hilfe e. V. (JUH) and Malteser Hilfsdienst e. V. (MHD). Supported by the Free State of Bavaria, the BayZBE is an institution obligated to disaster control. The focus is on the training of emergency forces with a concentration on special emergency situations. Its headquarters is located in Munich, simulation courses and training take place at the training center in Windischeschenbach in the northern Oberpfalz. As a center of excellence, BayZBE prepares operational staff and leaders for special situations.

"With SIMStation, we are united by the common goal of constantly improving and developing the application possibilities of simulations - and thus the added value and practical benefit for the participants. The cooperation, which started as a predefined, time-limited project, has turned into a long-term partnership over the years. SIMStation's integrated approach has shown us that we have found a reliable partner in SIMStation - from consulting and planning to implementation and support - who will continue to stand by us in all aspects of our versatile simulation center in the future."

Daniel Pröbstl, Managing Director of The BayZBE

The Technical Aspects in Detail

The specific equipment of the SIMStation installation at BayZBE speaks for itself. Installed on mounted tripods, 44 HD cameras from Axis (most equipped with 360° control and high-performance zoom) provide perfect insight and overview of every angle of the simulation terrain. Even in darkened lighting conditions, the integrated infrared technology guarantees clear image quality. The resulting overall view is supplemented by numerous audio tracks recorded by 24 room microphones and 40 wireless headset microphones. This is particularly important because the recording of participant communication is indispensable for the valid evaluation of a simulation training. Digital Dante® technology and auditory optimization methods such as Acoustic Echo Canceling, and Background Noise Compensation ensure loss-free, latency-free, and absolutely accurate transmission quality.

High-end hardware is not only used for recording purposes in the BayZBE, it also contributes to the design of a realistic simulation scenario. For example, all rooms are equipped with high-quality wall-mounted loudspeakers, which can provide a background noise - from gunshots and screams to traffic noise - as well as transmit instructions from the trainer in the control room. A special highlight of the AV system is the enormous LED screen in the simulation hall, which, measuring 8.0 x 4.5 m, can create extremely realistic visual simulation settings.

In combination with equipment elements such as own buses and ambulances - which are of course also equipped with Axis cameras, as well as numerous microphones, and loudspeakers - authentic simulation scenarios can be generated; scenarios that ensure an immersive training experience for the simulation participants and thus, supplemented by accompanying debriefings, ensure maximum learning success.

All hardware components are controlled from (partly mobile) control stations by means of the SIMStation Software. This software not only enables easy design, execution, and analysis of the simulations, but has also been expanded to include useful additional functions such as people tracking. The exact locations and movement sequences of the simulation participants can thus be registered, recorded, and analyzed at any time. The convincing result: state-of-the-art simulation technology. The best prerequisites for calmly discussing all actions and interactions of mission simulations in guided debriefings. And to be perfectly prepared: for an emergency occurring.

By the way: You can also find more valuable insights about the BayZBE - especially about the camera technology used - in the case study by our partner Axis. Enjoy the reading!

Our Exclusive Partner Axis

The Company Axis Communications

Axis Communications has been making the world a safer place with intelligent solutions since 1984. Founded in Sweden and now a global player, Axis has established itself as a leader in network video, audio, analytics, and access control with its network-based products. With offices in more than 50 countries and over 3,800 employees, the company's innovative products make a significant contribution to high quality and security standards in numerous industries and applications every day.

Axis Communications and SIMStation

Since SIMStation was founded, we rely exclusively on network cameras and video solutions from Axis Communications. We chose this exclusive partnership primarily because of the high quality of the Axis products and the fundamental system compatibility of the individual high-end components. Complemented by the impressively wide range of products offered by Axis Communications, this enables us to always find the perfectly suitable Axis solution for our customers' individual, sometimes extraordinarily complex simulation installations.

The Customer Story at axis.com