Occupational Health & Safety

This image is a conceptual image and may differ slightly from images in the forthcoming game

FEMA Funds 'Disaster Hero' Video Game for PC/Mac

Legacy Interactive®, a Los Angeles-based developer and publisher of video games, on Wednesday announced a contract with the American College of Emergency Physicians to develop a game designed to teach children and their families how to prepare for all types of hazards or emergencies. The project, expected to be complete sometime in 2011, is funded by a grant (2008-GT-T8-K028) from the Department of Homeland Security.

The Web-based game will be targeted to multiple audiences, including children, early teens, parents, caregivers and teachers, and will focus on what to do before, during, and after a disaster. The game and associated website will emphasize getting an emergency kit, having an emergency plan, and being informed.

"This project to develop an educational program for children using a game platform will be a unique approach to teaching kids to have an active role in home disaster planning," said ACEP President Dr. Angela Gardner. "ACEP is pleased to partner with many other stakeholders representing teachers, schools, daycare centers, and youth organizations in the development of this program."

Players will be encouraged to learn about the types of disasters that might occur in their geographic region or state. The most common disasters -- earthquakes, floods, hurricanes, and tornadoes -- will be used to teach preparedness steps and to help users know how to prepare and what to do during and after an emergency event.

The game will include a variety of different game genres, depending on the type of educational content to be conveyed. For example, time management and puzzle gameplay will be used to teach how a person prepares for a possible emergency, including determining escape routes and meeting places. Hidden object gameplay will be used to teach what items belong in an emergency supply kit, such as batteries, flashlight, and canned food. Simulation gameplay will be used to present quick-care tips such as applying pressure to control bleeding.

The players take the role of a "Disaster Hero" to help different families prepare for various disasters. Each disaster scenario provides a variety of game experiences and quizzes on what was learned. Points are earned throughout the experience and displayed on the Disaster Hero website. Downloadable learning activities and checklists targeted to teachers and parents also will be available on the website.

This program was supported by Cooperative Agreement Number 2008-GT-T8-K028, administered by DHS/FEMA. Dallas-based ACEP is a national medical specialty society representing emergency medicine. For more information on the forthcoming video game, go to www.disasterhero.com.

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