Fighting Fires with Mixed Reality: The Future of Fire Safety Training and Education

Boon Giin Lee, Matthew Pike, Joseph Manuel Thenara, Dave Towey

Research output: Chapter in Book/Conference proceedingConference contributionpeer-review


Purpose – Extended reality technologies have made a significant impact in various educational domains, including medical sciences, built environment, and the humanities. Fire-extinguisher training (FET) for non-professional firefighters can expose trainees to dangerous situations, including high temperatures, fire, and smoke. In this paper, we explore the use of mixed-reality (MR) technology for FET. We incorporate sensor-based environmental information to provide a safe, immersive, firefighting scenario that simulates realistic conditions.
Design/methodology/approach – We report on the development of a Hololens-based FET application using the Unity3D engine and MR toolkit (MRTK) plugin. The FET has two modes: training and application. During the training mode, trainees learn how to use different fire extinguishers through an interactive holographic experience. In the application mode, they use the holographic fire extinguisher to extinguish virtual fires in the real environment. Fifty participants took part in the study. Each participant engaged with two different training modalities: traditional (video-based) learning and MR-based FET (MR-FET). Participants were surveyed about different elements of their MR-FET learning experience, including their level of motivation, engagement, interest, comfort, and overall experience.
Findings – The survey results reflect a positive experience with the MR-FET, as evidenced by a mean rating of 4.32 out of 5.0. The participants rated their motivation, engagement, and attraction with the training experience at 4.59, 4.39, and 4.49, respectively. These findings suggest that the participants were highly motivated to use MR-FET; had a strong engagement with the presented material; and were significantly interested in the overall learning experience. Nevertheless, concerns were raised regarding the Hololens not being particularly comfortable (mean rating of 3.69 for comfort). Conversely, only a very low proportion of participants reported experiencing symptoms of cybersickness (6.8%), indicating that MR could be a feasible replacement for virtual reality (VR)-based FET.
Originality/value/implications – This study proposes an MR-based firefighting training tool that could reduce the motion-sickness issues common to VR-based training. Furthermore, the simulated fires can be integrated with objects in real-world environments, enhancing the immersive experience, and minimizing the physical risks.
Original languageEnglish
Title of host publicationProceedings of the 2023 International Conference on Open and Innovative Education (ICOIE 2023)
EditorsEva Tsang, Kam Cheong Li, Philips Wang
Place of PublicationHong Kong
PublisherHong Kong Metropolitan University
Number of pages16
ISBN (Electronic)9789888439706
Publication statusPublished - 5 Jul 2023
EventInternational Conference on Open and Innovative Education -
Duration: 4 Jul 2023 → …


ConferenceInternational Conference on Open and Innovative Education
Period4/07/23 → …
Internet address


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