New smart phone, tablet app creates simulated fires to help firefighters train

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ORANGE COUNTY, Fla. - A retired Orange County firefighter is using cell phones to improve training for firefighters.

His company has created a new app that can take pictures of any building, and then set it on fire, an inexpensive solution that allows firefighters to use their own phones to fight fires.

Jim Murphy said every fire is different and before any firefighter fights one, they have to have an idea of what they're going into.

A fire simulator app could help them fight a fire before they even suit up.

"We can take a real building and burn it down, without any hazards involved," said Murphy.

Murphy's Sims-U-Share company has made an app for tablets and smartphones where you can start a fire, anywhere.

The app also allows firefighters to use their own phones to take pictures inside or outside buildings and they can essentially build and train off a virtual database of structures in their area.

This app won't replace training and it won't even take over for the roughly $30,000 software that Orange County uses.

But at $10, Murphy said the app allows firefighters to train anytime outside the classroom.

"If anyone can build a simulation, then everyone can benefit from that," said Murphy.

The new app for iPad will debut Thursday at the Fire Rescue International Convention in Denver.

It's also available on Windows, Mac, Kindle Fire, and Android.

The iPhone version is still a few weeks away.