Crown Agents marks twenty-five years of emergency response with new virtual reality tool

News and Press Release
Originally published

On World Humanitarian Day, the not-for-profit development company launches a pioneering, virtual reality tool to demonstrate the complexities of disaster response, offering an opportunity to experience crisis-control and decision making first hand.

19 August 2018, London. Today, Crown Agents has launched a new virtual reality (VR) tool to demonstrate the complexities of responding to a humanitarian crisis. The immersive VR experience exposes the user to the difficult decisions faced by those responding to humanitarian crises worldwide. By inviting the user to submit their own responses to testing situations, the tool demonstrates the clarity and resilience required in moments of crises as its fictional story pits participants against an unfolding issue in “K-Land”. The story’s conclusion highlights the high-level of skill and expertise required to make sound decisions that save lives during a disaster as well as the risks and challenges faced by those on the ground.

The VR launch marks twenty-five years since Crown Agents - in partnership with the British Government - established a pioneering disaster response model first delivered during the 1992 Bosnia conflict. Since, the model has gone from strength-to-strength and enabled quick and effective disaster response to critical situations like the Boxing Day tsunami in Asia and Ebola outbreak in Sierra Leone.

Initially intended to raise awareness of the complexities and expertise required in such a response, the VR experience holds potential to be developed into a training tool for those entering into emergency relief teams. This tool reflects a strong history of innovation from Crown Agents who invented, developed and shaped the UK’s global disaster response system. New systems and technologies have been a constant in the history of the organisation and continue to shape current and future activity.

Fergus Drake, Crown Agent’s CEO, said:

“We’re proud to share this immersive experience with the world. It outlines the equipment that emergency responders are using today to save more lives in crisis situations. For the last 25 years Crown Agents has responded to the world’s largest emergencies and this gives a small indication of the challenges people face responding to famines, hurricanes and pandemics. Virtual reality allows us to go some way in accurately conveying the pressures of a humanitarian crisis and we hope it appeals to a new generation of those wanting to work in this life saving field.”

The tool can be accessed online here:°