Wednesday, 30 July 2014

What You Can Do To Prepare For Ebola

If ebola spreads to your region -- if people are presenting in your area with symptoms and there is a great deal of fear and uncertainty -- there are some very simple steps you and your community can take to ensure your survival.

Who am I to give this advice? I was tapped to do design on a simulation to train hospitals to deal with medical resource management during pandemic events. I've done a lot of historical research and I've worked with these people. This said, you need to listen to public health officials and authoritative sources over myself in any contradiction. Now on with it...

Take Some Time Off (Self-Isolate)
A very simple and effective way to fight the spread of ebola is to simply avoid contact with others. Pretty straightforward. The more you can avoid others, the more you avoid the disease, the higher your chances of surviving. It's something simple and proactive you can do to stay alive and reassure yourself and your family.

Tuesday, 29 July 2014

Pandemic Response: The Simulation

Pandemic Response is a simulation to train hospital administrators to deal with epidemiological events, including pandemics.

I provided consulting game design for this project, over several meetings and design sessions. My main contribution was to research and design a full tabletop prototype early on, and then take the team through this scenario as a learning exercise.

Partly I drew on my own HAZMAT training from the army, and while attending a hospital disaster training in DC (where I did triage in full respirator and suit).

The approach I advocated in design emphasized the overarching principles and key on-the-ground actions and strategies involved, based on historical-qualitative experience (in particular, reports on the SARS event and response at the North York General Hospital in Toronto). The final approach taken in the game was quantitative, emphasizing data simulation, with key actions integrated in a summary manner.

Pandemic Response was developed to beta stage by Simquest (from the Washington DC area), working with Virtual Heroes, and was funded by the United States Office of the Secretary of Defence.

Friday, 25 July 2014

New Russian Mechanized Infantry Tactics

Syrian Armour (Russian-Supplied) Operating In Close Coordination

A Fascinating Study of Mechanized Combat
I've embedded a propaganda video displaying the deployment of a Syrian mechanized infantry combat team. The video is from the Syrian perspective, but it has a Russian voice-over. I find it interesting because you are witnessing Western-style combined arms tactics in an Arab state, under the advisement of Russian military. It says a lot...

My Understanding of Mech Infantry
In the late-1980s I serrved with the 48th Highlanders of Canada Regiment, which was then tasked as Mechanized Infantry. We were preparing to fight the Ruuskies in World War Three -- a pretty futile-feeling mission to train for, but we trained for it nonetheless.

Friday, 6 June 2014

What To Do If The Shit Hits The Fan!

Whether it's a zombie apocalypse, a super-typhoon, alien invasion, a pandemic or total economic collapse, there are some core things you can do to help ensure the survival of yourself and your loved ones in a disaster.

I'm talking about a major collapse here. The kind where, for whatever reason, you're on your own. The authorities are taxed beyond the limit, power is out, you have dwindling water reserves, no food distribution, the fear of anarchy, and so on.

Monday, 17 March 2014

Monday, 13 January 2014

Should We Bury Fukushima?

I've watched this Fukushima situation with concern for a few months now. I have an interest in it partly because I worked in disaster response simulation design. My specialty was in designing simulations that dealt with what you might call the meta-level of situational events. (I worked on sims that dealt with how hospitals manage their resources at an overarching level during terrorists bombings and epidemic events.)

The Fukushima Diachi Nuclear Facility (displaying the 4 reactors)

Saturday, 9 November 2013

Code Orange: The Simulation

I was a core designer at BreakAway Games for Code Orange, a computer 3D real-time strategy serious game to train hospital staff to deal with mass casualty incidents. I gave the project a strong new design structure and overall creative direction that reflected both the core strategic elements and the “feel” of disaster medicine at the hospital level.

I did extensive research on the topic, consulted with many experts (such as Israeli trauma specialist Dr Asher Hirshberg); brought in subject matter experts (SMEs) to work closely with myself; attended numerous courses, symposiums, meetings, disaster drills; spent many hours observing at the famous MedStar shock/trauma facility in Washington DC, and toured many hospital critical care facilities. I also became an unofficial expert in the Hospital Emergency Incident Command System (HEICS), and did extensive client relations work.

I designed a tabletop prototype that covered the response of an entire hospital to a terrorist bomb scenario. I brought the development team (overseen by our subject-matter experts) through this prototype, so they could understand how the situation worked. I wrote the design documentation for the computer game, including spreadsheet-based data fields and mock-ups of the core user-interface.

I provided design leadership, guiding the development team in taking on the complex medical subject matter; boiling complicated materials down to a workable design, especially at the clinical level.

Code Orange was a project of Washington Hospital Center's ER1 initiative.

Here is a video of Code Orange in action, which gives a very rough sense of the interface (on which I also did core design work).

You can also see a video of myself moderating the tabletop prototype I designed for this project on BreakAway's homeland security page.