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C3 Pathways: Next-gen 3D Simulation for First Responder Training

 Bill Godfrey, Chief Consultant
In most real-life training exercises, participants are so far removed from the big picture that they don’t learn how each piece fits together and the critical interdependencies of the decision-making and communications that need to take place during an emergency event. Founded in 2004, C3 Pathways is an emergency preparedness organization that uses surgically precise technology tools to train first responders in high-pressure scenarios that are otherwise very difficult to recreate. “We are like a “mission impossible” group for response training and homeland security threats, taking on the training challenges that others back away from, whether they are too dangerous, too risky to publicly expose, or too expensive to exercise in real life,” says Bill Godfrey, Chief Consultant, C3 Pathways.

Many of the training scenarios that C3 Pathways helps with are impractical to exercise in real life and would require literally hundreds of responders and hundreds of role players to train at full scale. Not only would that type of massive full-scale training exercise be expensive, but it’s an ineffective way to teach. “With our simulation technology— NIMSPro3™ 3D Simulation System, our instructors are able to tackle these very difficult scenarios by focusing on how the team communicates, executes, and manages the incident effectively, achieving amazing results,” says Godfrey.

With C3 Pathways’ NIMSPro3™ 3D Simulation System, large incidents are translated into a manageable training environment by blending the virtual world with the real world. All of the role players (those injured or uninjured in the real-life scenario) are virtual, portrayed by the computer which has been programmed with various pieces of pertinent information. The participants in the simulation can serve as an individual responder (an individual police officer, fire fighter, or paramedic) or a group of responders. In the NIMSPro3™ classroom, the computer is simulating the incident scene, but the trainees are playing their roles in real life. “While the technology itself is powerful, it’s simply a tool to make the training more compelling and effective,” says Godfrey.


With NIMSPro3™ 3D Simulation System, large incidents are translated into a manageable training environment by blending the virtual world with the real world


One of C3 Pathways’ most groundbreaking success stories is the work they’ve done with the Advanced Law Enforcement Rapid Response Training center at Texas State University (ALERRT). They began working with the ALERRT program after closely investigating active shooter events and their surrounding response procedures. Eventually they combined their programs and the end results far exceeded everyone’s expectations, producing fantastic results. Their joint program has created a new active shooter response model that is becoming the national standard.

“We want to make a difference and do good work. And when you can be a part of something that has a national impact, that feels pretty good,” says Godfrey.

In addition to C3 Pathways’ many other training programs, they offer cyber security event response training, performed jointly with the Texas A&M Engineering Extension Service (TEEX). Godfrey explains, “When it comes to a cyber incident, there is an inherent technical response, but what’s particularly interesting is the management of the response to a cyber incident–answering those key questions like, who’s going to lead the response and make binding decisions on behalf of the organization? When do you tell your customers about the breach and what are you going to tell them? What are legal questions you might confront? And, perhaps a surprise to many, do you involve law enforcement?”

Going forward, C3 Pathways plans to continue on the work of training on impossible problems. One project currently in development is their fully immersive multi-player virtual reality system with full freedom of movement.