For our nation’s first responders, training is key to ensuring their skills and reflexes remain sharp. But what happens when First Responders are our teachers or school administrators? Training is not only essential—it can be life-saving. That’s why the Department of Homeland Security Science and Technology Directorate and its partners at the U.S. Army have given all our nation’s responders a critical EDGE on training and preparedness. EDGE, or the Enhanced Dynamic Geo-Social Environment, uses video game technology to immerse First Responders and Educators in a training platform where they can collaborate. EDGE is a virtual training tool that we’ve developed in partnership with the United States Army and what it does is it allows folks to be able to train in a virtual environment that is very similar to what they would do in real life. In most school shootings the Educators are going to be the First Responders. This gives the school the best opportunities to identify, recognize, prevent or mitigate a shooting situation. EDGE allows schools and response agencies to virtually train together or by themselves anytime they want. And the best part? It’s available to them for free. I thought it was fantastic! Certainly as school people we have been very immersed in all kinds of training with regard to active shooters and school safety, but this was unique in that it allowed us to train together. EDGE being a free tool benefits a lot of schools because money is always a big issue so the fact this is free of cost, it makes it a no-brainer in a lot of ways. There are no winners or losers, no high scores . . . only a safe space where role-players can use avatars representing real-life roles. It’s just another tool that we can stick in our toolbox. It will allow us to do more training and be more interactive. Not only on a police end, but also on an educational end. At the end of the day, it’s all about safe students, secure schools, and resilient communities. Well, this is all about protecting our kids in our schools. And to me there is nothing more important that, and anything that helps us keep our kids safe is something that we need to pay attention to. With, EDGE, The Department of Homeland Security Science and Technology Directorate, is rethinking our approach to preparedness. For more information, please visit us on the web.