Serious Games for Public Safety: How Gamified Education Can Teach Ontarians Emergency Preparedness

Annie N. Le


According to the Canadian Emergencies act, a national emergency is an urgent, critical situation that threatens the health and safety of Canadians (Department of Justice of Canada, 2022). Emergencies can also take on many forms: pandemics, natural disasters, civil unrest, or armed conflict. Currently, the Provincial Emergency Response Plan implemented by the Chief of Emergency Management Ontario is the framework that keeps Ontarians safe, allowing for organizations and municipalities to organize disaster relief, send out emergency alerts, and educate Ontario residents on emergency preparedness (PERP, 2019). This paper explores how serious games can prepare the public for emergencies based on response frameworks currently in use in metropolitan Ontario, Canada (cities such as Toronto, Ottawa, and Hamilton). This example was selected because it represents modern urban settings that require response plans and provides a framework that can be used to elaborate on. This paper will present the positive features of serious game applications concerning public safety and emergency management education. Case studies of serious game applications currently used for public health and safety purposes will be examined. Serious games may be a useful instrument for public safety education to enhance existing emergency preparedness and public safety education frameworks.

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