Firearm Safe Handling Virtual Reality Training

Target Audience: Government Audience

Company: Booz Allen Hamilton

Description: If VA healthcare providers are hesitant in firearms conversations, it can diminish Veterans’ confidence in providers and impact their desire to discuss firearms ownership and safe storage. This virtual experience helps those who are unfamiliar with or uncomfortable around firearms learn relevant terminology and proper safety techniques in a secure environment. The app also teaches the benefits and statistics behind firearms safe storage as they relate to suicide rates. Healthcare providers are given a safe, virtual environment to practice handling and safe storage techniques themselves, with the ultimate goal of becoming more comfortable in their discussions with their Veteran patients. Healthcare providers who tested the application reflected the value of the application in their feedback with comments like, “Anyone who is afraid of firearms should take this virtual class. I believe it will help with fear and anxiety of guns,” “I have given out a lot of cable locks but I did not know a lot of things about them. I learned how to apply a cable lock in a way I didn’t know how previously,” and “I thought [the VR training]… is a world better than any [standardized] training I’ve ever done in my life.”

Skills and Ideas Taught: The core knowledge and skills players learn are the processes and the importance of safely handling and storing firearms. Players also learn the impact suicide has on Veteran populations and how they can help to combat it.

Goal: Providing engaging training data, and an immersive firearm handling training experience that will lead to better clinical conversations and lower rates of attempted suicide.

Assessment Approach: The player’s learning is measured via a pass/fail system. The player cannot advance through the game until they accurately demonstrate the necessary skills required in each module. At the end of each successful module, the player is awarded a passing achievement. The game is complete, and the player has “passed” once they have received all the necessary achievements i.e., Completed all the modules accurately.

Game Engine: Unity

Operating Systems: Meta Quest 2

Primary Audience: Professional healthcare providers at VA Medical Centers