First responders of all disciplines will now be able to train together for active shooter and other critical incidents thanks to a new virtual training platform made available by the Department of Homeland Security Science and Technology Directorate (DHS S&T) and the US Army Research Laboratory (ARL).

The Enhanced Dynamic Geo-Social Environment (EDGE) training platform is available to first responders nationwide at no cost. EDGE is a multiplayer, scalable, online environment that trains responders - single agencies or cross-agency, jurisdiction, or discipline - for a coordinated response to active shooter incidents.

Built on the Unreal gaming engine, EDGE allows responders to collaboratively role-play complex scenarios in a virtual environment, improving coordination and communication while mitigating injuries and loss of lives. S&T's First Responders Group (FRG) developed the technology with the US Army Research Laboratory's Simulation and Training Technology Center and Cole Engineering Services, Inc.

"In this day and age, it is essential that responders have every tool at their disposal to prepare for an respond to critical incidents," said William N. Bryan, DHS Under Secretary (Acting) for Science and Technology. "When decisions must be made in a matter of seconds, every bit of training helps to save civilian and responder lives. EDGE harnesses the power of cutting-edge gaming and defense technology to make training accessible, engaging, and affordable to all responders - from rural volunteers to those serving our major metropolitan areas."