Vehicles rumble toward a flooded building, leaving a wake in deep water as they head to rescue stranded hurricane victims. Paramedics kneel next to victims of a mass shooting. Subway cars lie in ribbons after a terrorist attack, and a search-and-rescue dog sniffs among the wreckage to look for survivors.

Those were just three of the scenarios which played out this week at the Guardian Centers in Perry, Georgia, as part of Verizon’s Operation Convergent Response. The event highlighted how new technology solutions — backed by Verizon’s network — can be used to respond to emergencies, and also served as a training exercise for local first responders.

Nick Nilan, director of public sector product development at Verizon Enterprise Solutions, headed up the event on the Verizon side. He described OCR as an opportunity for an “immersive learning experience” and showing how technology can improve and augment the work of first responders. Nilan said that more than 200 agencies and enterprises came to the event, held at the tactical training campus of the Guardian Centers. 

Brett Railey, former chief of police in Winter Park, Florida and a 35-year veteran of law enforcement, was one of the many consultants that Verizon worked with to pull off the event. Railey was a facilitator for the the subway attack scenario, which was a 40-minute exercise that took place on a section of track one-third of a mile long, including actual subway cars. The scenario included explosions in the tunnel as participants made their way out of the subway cars after the simulated attack, investigations by a hazardous materials response team and rescue of mannequins trapped under an overturned car. Live video of the event was captured by surveillance cameras inside the tunnel and sent back to the command center for situational awareness and feedback.

Other scenarios included a highway vehicle pile-up, an active shooter situation, a helicopter crash and an earthquake, as well as a nuclear detonation. Verizon’s partners for the event included Nokia and Aegex Technologies.

Some of the technologies highlights included the use of drones to deliver medicines on-scene, video capturing capabilities and facial recognition and robotics.

“The level of immersive training that I’m seeing out here at Guardian Centers, partnering with Verizon on this, is amazing,” Railey said. “You can talk about things, and usually when law enforcement conducts training, it’s with the equipment they have. But to see what else is available … in real live scenarios, and then make that application to what you would use it for once you took it back home, it’s given us the opportunity as first responders to really get a real-world education on all the technology that’s available.”

Check out a few of the pictures and videos from OCR posted on Twitter:



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