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FM Global's SimZone: Learning by doing

FM Global's Randall J. Scheitmueller talks about the benefits and advantages the company is realizing from its new state-of-the-art, hands-on training facility in Norwood, Mass. Devoted to educating FM Global field engineers and clients about hazards confronting policyholders, the facility features nine different learning labs dealing with elements including industrial heating equipment, fire protection systems, roof and wall construction, dust collection systems and industrial propane installations. Schreitmueller explains how SimZone providing field engineers with invaluable, practical experience, helping them be more competent when visiting client facilities.

Video transcript below:

Brian Anderson, Insurance Business America
Brian Anderson:
 This is Brian Anderson with Insurance Business America.  In a 12,000 square foot building at FM Global’s Centre for Property Risk Solutions in Norwood, Massachusetts sits the SimZone, a new state-of-the-art hands on training facility devoted to educating FM Global’s field engineers and clients about hazards both manmade and natural confronting policy holders along with the protection solutions available to minimize or mitigate those hazards.  Insurance Business America recently spoke with FM Global’s

Randy Schreitmueller, when he was at the RIMS Conference in Denver about the SimZone and here is what he had to say.

How did FM Global’s SimZone come about?

Randall J. Schreitmueller, VP – Manager Broker Relations, FM Global
FM Global is company that’s very much invested in engineering, loss prevention engineering is, it’s really part of the fabric of our product and it’s an integral part of the product.  So we have 1800 or so engineers that visit important locations for our clients to help ensure resilience of their facilities and their supply chains.  So when you have that many engineers you have to train them of course, so the SimZone really came about as a way to train those engineers.  We might hire anywhere from 75 to 125 engineers a year and think of the SimZone as a, it’s like a flight simulator.  It’s a hands on experience, the engineers can get their hands dirty and get to know fire protection equipment, industrial equipment, electrical equipment, you name it, non-destructive testing, valves etc.

Before the SimZone came about, really a lot of learning about how to operate this type of equipment was classroom learning, manuals, book learning.  So this really is a new way of getting that type of information across, it’s a modern way of teaching the engineers.  It works on two levels – they like the hands on experience, but it also turns out it’s the best way to get that information implanted in their heads.  It’s like a safe learning environment, they can go and use some of this sophisticated equipment, get to know it and you know it really does work well as a teaching experience.

What are some of the advantages to using SimZone for training?

Well the SimZone really works on a number of different levels.  That hands on experience is something that, number one the engineers like it, so it engages them, in the process they get to actually works valves, to work fire protection equipment, pumps, building systems etc.  So not only is it an experience they enjoy, but it turns out it’s also the best way to get that information across to them.  You know before this would have involved classroom learning, book learning, so really it does help implant this important information into their heads.  It also allows us to kind of throw them some curve balls along the way, you know they get to experience first hand some of the things that can happen during the course of operating a pump or operating a piece of switchgear, so that really if those things happen in real life they are prepared to deal with it.
 
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