SPTC Cityscape Nears Completion: A World Class Opportunity for Scenario-Based Training

February 3, 2014

The New York State Preparedness Training Center (SPTC) is scheduled to complete construction on its state-of-the-art CityScape this September. This complex will add 23 venues to the already diverse training environments across the SPTC's 723 acre campus. The National Center for Security & Preparedness (NCSP) and the SPTC continue to develop high-end, functionally-integrated scenario-based training programs that will incorporate this complex and provide first responders with cutting-edge and in-time courses in a realistic and environmentally accurate setting. The training opportunities the CityScape affords will reinforce the NCSP/SPTC's position at the top of the spectrum for training across the country.

"The CityScape is going to facilitate what the NCSP and SPTC have always found essential - scenario-based training that gets students to the edge. The edge is where you can see students breathing quicker, their pupils dilate - they believe, if only for that moment, that they are part of the scenario and not part of a training."

–Cyndi Mellen, Training & Project Management Section Chief

The CityScape construction commenced in January of 2013 after several years of conceptualization, design, and development that encompassed input from nationally recognized subject matter experts, public officials, first responders, architects, and engineers. The facility is nearly an acre, fully covered, and replicates a life-size urban setting. On the exterior, the CityScape simulates a city block with curb cuts, streets, sidewalks, traffic lights, store fronts, and entrances into a myriad of venues including a school, pharmacy and post office.

"While other facilities have signs that say "school", students at the SPTC will enter an area with lockers, books, and desks. These details take our training development and delivery to the next level. "
The interior of the complex consists of simulated eateries, businesses, retail stores, a courtroom, school, and bank, as well as a shopping mall, hotel, and apartment complex.

The facility also boasts state-of-the-art technology that enables instructional teams to introduce environmental effects that create realistic conditions and feedback year-round. Some of these features include advanced lighting and temperature controls, systems that provide the ability to inject smoke and sound, and over 200 cameras that can monitor and provide real-time feedback for instructional teams and students alike. These systems are all operated from a centralized control room.

The venues that comprise the CityScape are designed specifically to support scenario based training. Each venue will maintain appropriate props such as furniture and retail products to simulate real-life scenarios and the architecture is designed to withstand the continued use of Simunition® weapons systems, explosive simulants, vehicle traffic, and relevant equipment employed across first responder disciplines.

"Instead of imagining a fire in a room, students will be greeted with smoke. Need a night-time scenario at 9:00AM? No problem with our light-lock. "
From rappel points and searchable voids to post-blast sites, first responders from all disciplines will benefit from this ultra-realistic facility, enhancing the quality of their training experience.

The SPTC already boasts a series of state-of-the art venues including smart-classrooms, a Shoot House Complex ("Bob's House"), Emergency Vehicle Operations Course, Post-Disaster ("The Village") and residential Trailer Parks ("The Estates") , an Explosives Range ("Boom Town"); a Field Operations Building that incorporates Fire, EMS, and Law Enforcement garages, and a Simulated Emergency Department; as well as span of rural land that entails campgrounds, trails, and venues for woodland training.

"The cityscape is a series of venues designed to fully immerse the student into any given scenario. The use of realistic props and added special effects such as smoke, sound, lighting, and even temperature will provide the most uninhibited, unique and realistic user experience. It is a sort of a training-Disneyland for first responders, although there's nothing really pleasant about training for worst-case scenarios."

–Lori Percle, Assistant Director NCSP

The CityScape's 23 venues compliment the NCSP's and SPTC's many capabilities to facilitate world-class scenario-based training including a professional role player program and robust SimCell operations. Collectively, these capabilities enable students to experience a realistic training environment unlike any other in the country, from dispatch to incident completion.