Virtual reality headsets, heat-generating clothing and hoses that replicate powerful pressure will be used to train Kiwi firefighters for dangerous and complex fires.

The new training technology helps prepare firefighters for complex and unsafe scenarios that are difficult to reproduce using traditional training methods.

Other scenarios are no longer possible due to environmental, community and regulatory restrictions.

The virtual reality system means firefighters feel like they are fighting a dangerous or complicated fire without being put in danger.

The realistic outcome to their actions is valuable in the training.

The FLAIM system was developed by a university professor who was also a volunteer firefighter.

The VR headset and breathing apparatus, the FLAIM system incorporates an industry-standard hose-line system and protective clothing which produces realistic heat generation - simulating the temperature increase that occurs as the wearer approaches or fails to adequately control the fire.

The system's haptically enabled hose-reel can replicate the jet reaction force of up to 700kpa / 100psi of water pressure.

It also gathers real-time performance data and analytics to aid an individual's training.

The system also features realistic water dispersion and interaction with fire and smoke particles developed through particle physics modeling.

According to the latest figures, there are around 1700 career firefighters and 11,000 volunteer firefighters in New Zealand.

The new technology was developed by Associate Professor James Mullins at Deakin University's Institute for Intelligent Systems Research and Innovation in Victoria, Australia.

Mike Lindsay managing director of Building and Fire Services and health and safety consultant, says the technology allows firefighters to experience unique scenarios that would otherwise be too dangerous or expensive to replicate.

"The costs of building training scenarios for fire and emergency services can become expensive in both financial and environmental terms.

"At the same time long-term exposure to potentially carcinogenic emissions from fires and foam retardants for firefighters and in particular trainers increases the risks to their health.

"This virtual reality system was designed to accommodate the increasing need for training of new firefighters and has been adopted by firefighters in 15 countries around the world," he says.

Colin Thomson Kamo Volunteer Fire Chief with over 30 years experience who is also a fire and safety systems trainer, said the new tool provides a close approximation to the experience of a range of dangerous fire scenarios.

"As risks of global warming and its effects on spawning scrub fires become more evident new ways to train firefighters have been developed that are safer and more economical than conventional training techniques," he said.