Melbourne Water and Deakin University have co-designed and built the world’s first Virtual Reality (VR) training program for snakebite prevention and first-aid training. Melbourne Water staff are regularly out in the field, and often have close calls with snakes. This prompted us to find ways of minimising the very real danger of snakebite to our team.
Wearing a virtual reality headset, the trainee identifies locations and areas where snakes are likely to be found and, once all of the prevention methods have been learnt, they are then bitten by a virtual snake. Removing the headset, they apply a special pressure bandage to the bite area before putting the headset back on and scanning the bandaged area, usually an arm or leg. The indicators in the bandage will tell the trainee whether or not they have consistently applied the correct pressure before being scored on their efforts.
After completing the training, a 10-question quiz within the VR environment covers the key learnings.
This technology has been designed to be field deployable and will give a trainee a full snakebite first-aid experience in under 30 minutes. Melbourne Water crews are so engaged with the technology that they have asked if the headsets can form part of their prestart for works that are in high snake population areas.
Melbourne Water plans to share this technology with community groups, other government agencies and schools so that this important training is shared across all of Victoria.