Simulation And Gaming For Community Based Disaster Management

Simulation And Gaming For Community Based Disaster Management

In Disaster Management, one of the most important actors was the community. Not only residents are the first responders, but they also know the uniqueness of their place of residence and are expected to help each other first. Therefore, providing adequate education and knowledge to the community is very important. In this essay, I will discuss how the community can be educated using simulation and gaming (S&G).

To begin with, as the first responders, the community plays a very important role in disaster management. According to Japan Association for Fire Science and Engineering, in the great Hanshin-Awaji earthquake, most of the buried-alive people were rescued by themselves (34,9%), my family (31,9%), or by friends or neighbor (28.1%). Another fact is that the first three days after the great Hanshin-Awaji earthquake, are the most crucial time expected that the victims can still survive. Both of these data show how important people as first responders in disaster management. They are the first rescuer for themselves and from the others. Given this fact, it is important for the community to be educated and trained about how to respond in crisis especially regarding evacuation, rescue, shelter management, and so on.

One approach to educate people in disaster management is by employing simulation and gaming or S&G. S&G is a tool to develop how to think, as well as what to do regarding a real-world situation simulated in the form of games. The process of S&G for disaster management started with game design. In this process, the complex reality is embedded in the game in a simple model, including the roles and rules the players must follow in the game. The players will be briefed to give them knowledge from local and experiential knowledge before the game started, then they play the game to experience disaster management in a safe environment, and after finishing the game, the players will be debriefed to give them chance to share and reflect their experiences in a game. With S&G, people will acquire virtual experience, get knowledge integration by sharing, experiencing trial-and-error for coping and adaptive capacity.

Simulation and gaming in disaster management, in my opinion, is very important for several reasons. First, learn by experience is very effective especially in improving skills. Many skills require people to do and experience the activity. Although S&G is only a simulation, the experience we get can be applied in the real world. Second, games make people happy and relax and, in this state, people will be more concentrated and in turn, they can memorize information better. Third, playing games is a popular activity among young people especially with the theme of survival. I have played many kinds of games like this and it is very interesting. Although these games are pure games, I believe the experience, critical thinking, problem-solving in facing different situations are enhanced by playing these games. Lastly, games improve as technology improves. Technology such as virtual reality allows people to directly see a scene as if they saw it in real life and the future possibilities are unlimited. This means that S&G will also grow in the future and we may come to a stage where S&G will feel very realistic. In short, S&G has great potential for use in disaster management.

To sum up, the community as the first responders in crisis situations must be educated and trained to be successful in disaster management and one of the effective approaches to do that is by employing simulation and gaming.