Like most rookie firefighters (or rookie paramedics) Blake had rightly been told to train, train, and train some more. However, he soon discovered that some skills were easier to train than others. The hands-on, skills like knot-tying or IV starting, were easy enough to practice on and therefore easy enough to acquire. Other skills, however, the more mental skills, took longer to develop. Despite running hundreds of mega-codes or performing countless scene-sizeups from the whiteboard, it became clear to Blake: To Gain Experience You Have to Run The Calls.
So Blake ran the calls. And, over the years, slowly gained the experience he desired. Yet in the back of his mind (and many times in the front) he felt there was something wrong about this haphazard, inconsistent way to gain experience. He watched as some of his peers, at a particular slow station, become outpaced by others, who worked at a busy station. The solution to this was to rotate those crews to another busy station as well. While this seemed to balance things out, Blake couldn't help but continue to think What call am I missing out on right now? How else could I gain experience?
Blake McCorkle, Creator, Owner and Lead Developer of LIVE Simulator
After experimenting with VR using Google Cardboard, Blake began earnest development of the Simulator in December of 2014, filing his first provisional patent. Over the next few years, he juggled working as a full-time firefighter, being a husband and father, and becoming an entrepreneur and developer.
These years include a great deal of research - there is a great deal of information on critical thinking for education, business, and the military, but VERY little for Public Safety. Blake also made a working prototype consisting of a early version of the Oculus (DK2) and the Source Engine. He used this and began searching for investors.
After struggling to find any major investors, the future of LIVE Simulator looked bleak. However, in December of 2016, Blake found two indie programmers willing to work together to build the simulator. Finally work could begin in earnest.
And yet another setback -- the two programmers had to quit and take a paid contract. Blake was upset but thanked them for their time - one of them advised him to check out the Unreal engine and "play around with it."
Blake may have let this piece of advice slip by save for one event - a rejection email he received later than same evening. Blake used a free link tracker, which essentially tells you if someone has clicked a link or not -- The sender had rejected hadn't even looked at at a business plan Blake had spent the better part of two months working on and refining.
Blake recalls the moment well, in which, with some colorful language, he declared, "I'll build it myself. "
Kids were bored by Incident Command principles - so Blake flash-developed, on the spot, the first version of the Escape From Fire Module
One of the biggest simulation conferences in the world, Blake was appalled to discovered how under-represented and underserved the Fire Service (and Public Safety in general) .
The first time the Simulator was shown to the Fire Service in earnest!
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