Sacramento using VR to inspire future firefighting careers

Local News

SACRAMENTO, Calif. (KTXL) — The Sacramento Fire Department is launching a new tool to recruit future firefighters. 

They’re hoping virtual reality gets young people fired up about the fire service.

“Attention spans are short, everyone’s looking at more technology-based ideas as careers,” said Sacramento Fire Capt. Keith Wade. “Public safety police and fire are looking at how do we get their attention.”

Capt. Lawrence Whang came up with and designed the program himself after unsuccessful attempts to fully describe his firefighting experiences to his own children.

“I think it’s pretty important, especially with the younger generations. They want to see it,” Whang said. “A lot of the videos that you see of fires are always from the outside looking in, but now we can put people right in the middle of it.”

This tool is part of the new Diversity Outreach and Recruitment program intended to change a department that is disproportionally white and male into one that more closely reflects the city it serves. 

Whang said he hopes it can help with one of the essential first steps: piquing someone’s interest.

“A tool to help people relate and know that they can do this,” he explained.

The department plans to set up the virtual reality experience at outreach events starting with the Sacramento Kings game on Nov. 5.

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