“All About Those States” Fire Simulation Training Webinar


Learn how to add different states, AKA conditions, to your fire simulation in order to enhance its realism. 


Welcome, I’m Jonathan Kaye. Welcome to the webinar about “All About Those States,” a really exciting new feature in SimsUshare. Now, to start out, I really want to say well, what is a state? Let’s get our terminology together. What I’m talking about as a state is really a snapshot of some set of conditions, so let’s say incipient, a knockdown, fire extension. So in this picture over here, you see I have three views––an Alpha, a Delta, and the first floor view––that I would consider to be in the same state. So your locations in SimsUshare are going to be different, but you’re going to be talking about, well, the current condition or the current set of conditions is going to be the state.

As a snapshot of a set of conditions, here are some more examples. I mentioned incipient arrival condition––that might be smoke and fire showing out of the Alpha and Charlie side. That still is the current state. Fire extension to the second floor––another state. Fire extension to an exposure, these are all different states. Now, those are states that are normally things that evolve, but you can also have conditions that result from some of the crew actions doing good things––putting water on the fire, vertically ventilating a certain spot––things like that that might be considered another state. So again, you’re going to have several locations that all reflect one state. Knockdown. And so, what will happen is you’ll create a set of your slides for each location tied to that specific state. You’re going to organize all, let’s say your walkaround, your Delta, your Alpha, Bravo for incipient and you’re going to create another set of locations or slides in terms of SimsUshare for your extension. So in this example here, you see the incipient state, we have some smoke from the Delta side, a little bit of fire on that Alpha/Delta corner. In our extension state, you’ll have a location that will have more fire in the window and correspondingly, the Alpha and Bravo conditions for extension would have the same conditions that you’re seeing here in Delta but obviously a view from those locations.

Now, states are important because obviously, real fireground conditions evolve and we want to be able to train on more than just one snapshot. You can certainly do sizeups based on a single condition, but you want to also see how the decision making is going to affect the consequences and how their decisions are going to change based on how the conditions change. So when you start doing more involved training with multiple states, multiple conditions, that’s going to give you more depth about how your commanders and how your team are working. 

Now SimsUshare version 2.9.3 adds some important features to make creating states easier. So the states mechanism I’m going to show you exists in earlier versions as well, but now that we’re doing more intermediate and advanced training with states, we wanted to make it easier for developers to create states. So I’m going to talk about that, talking about also those changes.

So we’re going to talk about these different states and how you create them and what they mean. Now let’s just sort of take a step back and look at what a location in SimsUshare means. A location is just like a slide. So, for example, your first location automatically is called initial location, maybe some of you discovered that. Of course, you can rename them. And as you add new locations, you name them to what you want like Bravo, Charlie, Delta––these are just like slides in PowerPoint. And then what you do is you set up your navigation to jump among those locations. So you have, let’s say your Alpha, left going to Bravo, right going to Delta, and so forth. But now, locations don’t just have to be distinct. A location actually be a picture of a different physical location, or it can be the same location with a different condition or different state. So you can make a slide or a location, for example, that has Bravo incipient, Bravo knockdown, Bravo extension. So as you create your states, you’re going to have to create the conditions, how they look for the different states. So you’re going to define, okay I want to do incipient, I want to do knockdown, well then I’m going to then need possibly an Alpha, Bravo, Charlie Delta with those particular conditions.

So, for example, let’s say that you’re just creating your first simulation and you have A, B, C, D, and interior. So you got 5 slides there and that one is going to be arrival. We’ll just call it incipient. If you want to create a new state to show the evolution, let’s say you’re going to create an extension state that’s in your mind, but really what you have to do practically is create another set of 5 slides. In each of those slides that I show you here in the middle row, each of those next 5 slides would show the conditions for whatever you wanted to show is happening during fire extension. And similarly you may want to create a knockdown state or condition. So you’re going to create five more slides that each reflect the location under that condition. So in this example, if you have a simulation with five locations––five different physical locations––you would have to develop 15 different slides, each one being for a location and whatever that condition for the current state that you wanted to be the one to show. 

So now, the purpose of states is to help you organize your simulations but typically, using states in this mechanism I’m going to show you is going to be for multi-company exercises. And what I’ll show you over here, for example in this picture, we have Engine 2 and Battalion 1––these are separate screens and you’ll see on our CTC, which is the multi-company exercise capability, you’ll see we have it showing you the instructor there that Battalion 1 is at the Alpha––this says A [W]––and Engine 1 is at the Charlie [W]. So we’ve done here, it’s very very tiny, we’ll get into more, but the W was put into square brackets. And that’s how in SimsUshare, we say what the state is. If we can specify the state by the name using square brackets, SimsUshare is going to help us a lot. If you just named your slide A knockdown, B knockdown, that’s perfectly fine but you’re not going to get the benefit of the mechanism I’m going to show you about how SimsUshare can help you change states and organize things. So you can name your locations anything you want––A, A knock, B extension––but what we’re going to see is when you name your locations, when you give it a name or you rename them with square brackets and then some word or set of words inside those square brackets, meaning the state, see how it’s like A [W], C [W]––in this case W, the person was wanting it to be worse condition as opposed to the B in brackets being better condition. And it doesn’t just have to be a single letter. It can be a whole word, it can even be two words. But you want to be somewhat concise. 

7:29 So we’re going to see what happens when SimsUshare recognizes if you use that convention to say, let’s say a location name and then in square brackets, make the state name. So what you’ll notice here the arrow is pointing to, very small––we’re going to see this in action––is that when you define your locations like that, SimsUshare then will give you a little drop-down box, and what this will do is then let you change the state for everyone all at once. So we’re going to see how this works and why it’s an advantage. Rather than individually moving each token to the corresponding position for the condition you want, you’ll be able to change all the users at one time into their corresponding location for that particular state. 

So in terms of states, we just call the empty state, the initial state. When you create your locations, that’s going into the empty, initial state. It’s not designated as any state, but obviously the conditions can be anything you want them to be, they don’t have to be in the same condition. But if you’re defining a set of states, all the locations that don’t have the square bracket markers are considered to be in the same empty state. So now, when you want to actually identify a location, you want to tie a location as part of a state, what you want to do is name your location with that suffix within square brackets. So, for example, if I had side A and I want to say this location I’m making is for knockdown, I could do “A” or “Side A” and then in square brackets, “knock.” Now that’s going to be a lot of work creating all your slides––so you’d create A [KNOCK], B [KNOCK], C [KNOCK]––and now you have to tie them all together. Where now, more easily with version 2.9.3, there’s a thing here that says “Create Fill State,” and I’ll show you what that actually means right now. 


So if I go here, I’m going to go in, I’m going to edit. I have an example house, edit my example house. So here I put an incipient label here. I’ve got my A––and I’ve tied this already, A––there’s B, C, D. And I’ve tied this all together, there are four slides and I’ll go back here to show you. Go to location menus, see Alpha, Bravo, Charlie Delta and so I don’t have any square bracket marks here. These are whatever slides they are, whatever the condition. But now let’s say I want to make an extension. Let’s say this is going to be my incipient, but I want to make an extension state. Now, normally what I’d do, before the changes in 2.9.3, what I would do is I’d say Create New Location––and you can still do this––I’d say, okay I want to say Alpha and let me put [ext] for extension, and so now I could go get the Alpha picture or I could just copy Alpha’s assets like that. Now I hit Create, if you noticed now we’re going to be editing Alpha [ext], and you’ll see here that that’s different––you’ll see how Alpha here and Alpha [ext], those are separate. Now, I have this thing saying incipient because it copied all of the smoke and fire and everything from Alpha into this Alpha [ext] so now I have to go in and modify it and I’m just going to go to modify this and call this one Extension. And just so also visually we can actually see the difference, I’m going to go and add another smoke, so let me go and get a turbulent smoke and I’ll just stick it in the middle of the garage. 

So now Alpha [ext] has this smoke, it has the title there. So we can see the difference. Alpha incipient doesn’t have it, Alpha [ext] has it here. So we could go through and do the exact same thing with Bravo, Charlie, Delta. And then if we notice here on the extension when I hit play, you see I don’t have any navigation anymore because now I’m in the location and this location needs to have set up the navigation, whereas when I was in Alpha I already had set up––I’m going to hit play––you see I’d already set up the Bravo. So if we were to create the state manually, I’d have to create the new location, I’d have to set up the interaction, the navigation. That’s a fair amount of work, especially if I create a couple states.

So what we did is we made that easier. So what we do is you go to Manage Locations. If the scenario already has an EXT or has a square bracket, SimsUshare recognizes you already want to use states so it adds “& State,” otherwise this would say just “Manage Location.” So I go to Manage Location here. Now, we see over here instead of doing a new slide and copying all that, I can go here and say Create/Fill State, and all I have to do now is say “create.” It says to create the new state name. Now if it’s a completely new state name, I just type it in, but I happen to make it here “ext” because I want to basically create the other sides or all of the locations for this state. So I put “ext.” Now SimsUshare recognizes that it exists already. So instead of creating all the locations, it’s going to use what you already have but it’s going to fill in the missing locations. So I hit okay, and I’m going to say, what state should I copy from? So we’re creating a new state. What conditions, because we need to start from something, what condition should I start in? So I’m going to say, copy the stuff from the empty state name, and you’d have other conditions here as we’ll see. 

And notice what happened now, SimsUshare added Bravo, Delta, Charlie. Now if I don’t have a state, let’s say I want to do a knockdown. I’m going to go see here and say Create/Fill State and I’m going to say knockdown, knock and I hit okay. And now you see I can copy from empty or ext, doesn’t matter, we know they’re the same right now. I’m going to copy ext, and now see it has Bravo, Delta, all that stuff there. Now, those locations are pretty much all the same, I mean Alpha right now, Alpha [ext], we did put an extension there. So let’s see what is going to be Alpha knockdown that has extension in it as well. 

So I’m going to go here––we’re in Alpha knockdown, and so now if I look, here let’s go back and see, we have Alpha, which is our incipient. If I go here and say Alpha [ext], we’re in extension and I can actually use as a convenience function here, you’ll see if I do CTRL + right arrow, it’ll take me to the next one. And watch over here, so this is Alpha [ext], now it’s Bravo, Delta, Charlie, Bravo, Delta, Alpha. I’m going to go and actually change this one here––obviously you do a much better job if we wanted to make a real knockedown, but I’ll just put it so it visually is very distinct. So now what I’ve got here, so now I have all these locations and now I’ve got to go through doing all those walk-arounds. If you remember, when we created originally the Alpha extension state, we didn’t have the navigation. We would have to go in and do the walk-arounds. But when you use that Create/Fill State, it will automatically link up all the locations as they were in your original state. So we said, use the locations Alpha, Bravo, Charlie, Delta. So if I go to Alpha [ext] now, watch when I hit play. It’s added in the navigation based on what the source was. Which, the source was the original state. So where we had A, B, C, and D, it’s copied in even though we’re in the extension state. And if I go to Delta, this is saying Delta incipient, but it really, if you see over here, it’s because it was copying in Delta but if I now go Delta and I say here non-incipient but I say this is now extension, you’ll see that it actually copied this thing, so you really are moving along the correct states. So you see there’s Alpha extension and Delta extension. So we would adjust each of the slides appropriately. 

And notice here, I can’t really get to the incipient. I can do my loop here which is great, and this is good for the CTC where you don’t want to actually let the user change the state. But if you want the user to change––let’s say you’re teaching in front of a class and you now have, I’m going to go here to Alpha, and at some point now you want to go to extension. You don’t have any way of getting to the extension, so if you’re just using this in front of a class, you’re running the show, what you want to do is have some sort of arrow that will take you to another state. So what I do, this is kind of by convention, but certainly whatever works best for you, if I’m in Alpha, I hit “Set Navigation” and I like to use these middle arrows, these middle semicircles. I’m going to click here to go, from Alpha, up goes to Alpha extension. And now if I’m here in Alpha and I go up here, you’ll see, now as I go around, notice we’re still in extension. If I go down, we’re in incipient. So that create state really helps you out because it not only creates copies of all the locations, but it also sets up the navigation. That saves you a lot of time. You can always do it sort of the old school way of individually and setting up the navigation. 

But let me show you some other things here, some convenience things. Other things you can do with states––I can do things like sorting the locations, I can sort alphabetically, I can sort by state or along the rows. This is for the CTC. So you see it’ll lay out all your locations along the rows of the CTC, and so each column will have the location, each row would have the different state. But if you’d rather have another orientation where the states are represented in columns, then you can also do a sort by column. And also rename state and delete state. This is a convenience. It goes through all the locations of a particular state and changes the name. So let’s say I didn’t want [ext], I want to make it longer, I say rename state, and I’m going to now call this one the extension state. I hit yes and now you see they’re all named “extension.” So that’s more convenient than having to rename each individual location. 

So now let’s say we’ve got our house like this with the examples. So let’s go back and see in the CTC how this looks. So now I’m going to finish editing over here, I’m going to go and upload the simulation to the CTC, the SimCloud. I’m going to go over here, my example house I’m going to upload it, hit start. Now I actually left in that individual arrow to go from incipient to Alpha extension. But in the CTC, I don’t want to let someone who’s navigating around go to the extension. The instructor’s going to do that. So what I’m going to do here is I’m going to go and remove it and we’re going to have another scenario. And I’m going to go back over here, finish this up. I’m going to rename this one to say “for CTC.” So I’m going to upload example house, so Example House for CTC will not let the users go up from incipient to extension. A lot of are examples already a done with states. So if you’re familiar with 120 Myrtle, I use that a lot. You’ll see here that this has the A, A [B], A [W], A [D]. So these are all arranged by location name and then state. So that’s sort of the mystery if you ever wondered why the B, W, D, and why they’re named like that.

So let’s go into the CTC now and see what we’re looking at. So I’m going to go here, home I’ve already logged in. If you notice here, a little bit small. I’ll make it bigger. So we’ve got Example House and let’s see what Example House looks like. There’s Example House, now I can go back over to Alpha and I go up to that, so we’re set with that. So you can see this is our extension. So now I’m over here, and let’s take a look at our Example House for CTC. So over here, Example House for CTC is not going to have that center button. Notice over here I can go around, but I can’t I can’t make it go up or down. So in this situation this is why with the CTC we’re running multiple players. I’m going to go create a new one which will be 123 Main Street and now the code, I’m going to just make this “main” and I’m going to say let’s do the Example House for CTC. Hit Create, hit Start, and you’ll see there are our locations. When you have the states, it automatically will make the light gray for the current state and the dark gray for the non-current state. And so here if I now decide as the instructor to change it to the extension, see how I can go and change the current state. We made it so there are four locations but if I set this up to four, you’ll see now they all evenly spread out over the row. So now if I want to have a user come in, let me go in web client here, I’ll bring this guy in, and this is going to be Engine 1 and now I’m going to say exercise code “main” and I hit Create, and so now if we look over, you’ll see there is Engine 1. And you see as I move around, notice here since I didn’t leave that arrow in the middle, I can’t move to a different condition. I would have to have the instructor go and manually move me to that condition. It says extension, we’ve got our smoke over here. So this is really convenient. When I want to change the condition, all I have to do for all the users is go here and change it in that dropdown. With one person, it’s not a big deal to just drag and drop, but imagine having a couple people.

So I’m going to go now over here and go to start my exercise. I don’t need to download the scenario because it’s already on here. And so you can see now, I have both. I’m going to go back to this four per row. So now you’ll see as App 1 moves around, now the idea is, if I wanted to change to a knockdown or extension, before, without this dropdown, I would have to move each user individually into the right box. But now all I have to do is say, okay, move everyone to the extension and SimsUshare automatically will move the participants into their corresponding location. And it does that because it knows that Charlie is appropriate for the extension state versus the empty state or the knockdown state. And if I click and drag someone over here, it would also change the states. Once it knows that it’s crossing a state boundary, it then changes all the users. 

So, a lot of power here. Not only just with two, but imagine with three, four, five, or ten people––you don’t have to individually move them and they all change pretty much at the same time. That’s really the power of states, and we’re very excited about introducing this to make it easier to make more complex kinds of simulations that are more natural where you have different conditions and want to evolve. Of course, you want to sort of proceed at your own pace, if it’s more natural to you to just make certain slides without this mechanism, we certainly encourage that. But we just want to let you know this feature exists to really be able to make simulations that are much easier to manage and also much easier to develop. I appreciate your time, thank you. I’ll open this up for questions right now. If you have any questions, please feel free to put them in the chat window or in the Q&A.[/vc_column_text][/vc_column][/vc_row][vc_row][vc_column][vc_btn title=”View all CTC Webinars” color=”success” align=”center” link=”url:https%3A%2F%2Fsimsushare.com%2Fctc-webinars%2F|||”][/vc_column][/vc_row]