Technology with a Purpose

Archive for October, 2012

Interactive Lessons Make TargetSolutions’ Content More Engaging

Online training and e-learning has evolved from a static, read-and-click format to one that is video- and multimedia-based and TargetSolutions is exploring all the flexibility and creativity the improved formats offer to a students learning environment.

Recently, TargetSolutions had a user request to lengthen and improve the content of one of our sexual harassment courses. Rather than downplay the need to revise the course, we looked at it as an opportunity to make some of our content better.

With the help of an Articulate product called Storyline, TargetSolutions is adding more interactive lessons making content engaging. We are looking to utilize drag-and-drop functionality, as well as combine static files into a more video-driven display of information.

TargetSolutions strives to deliver content in a format users will enjoy. At the same time, the learning environment must be taken into account so as to not become a distraction. While the development of this type of content is a little more time-consuming, TargetSolutions is confident the end result will have users coming back for more.

TargetSolutions Simplifies Distribution of Policies Videos and More for Corona Fire Department

The Corona Fire Department has been serving the citizens of Corona since 1898. The department’s mission of serving our city with pride, integrity, and professionalism while protecting and enhancing the quality of life for the citizens of Corona, has never wavered.

Corona has seven stations and 100 members serving a population of more than 153,000 residents over 39.2 square miles. The department is headed by Fire Chief John Medina, while Captain Jeremy Verderber makes certain the staff is properly certified and prepared to serve at a moment’s notice.

But ensuring everyone within a department is up to date with all of their training can be complicated and difficult. The muddled process of having to attain written signatures from each individual at all seven stations where they took a course, read a document, or watched a video was unsustainable for Corona. The absence of a comprehensive training management tool was preventing the department from reaching its maximum efficiency.

In 2009, with the arrival of TargetSolutions, everything changed for the department. Coronas most challenging training issues – mainly achieving accreditation and tracking records – were quickly eliminated.

“For the mandated stuff and compliance issues, TargetSolutions is actually great,” Verderber said. “The first thing is that it satisfies minimum mandatory training requirements in certain subjects, provides all the EMS continuing education units that you would need, and allows you to add your own personal content and distribute it with the push of a button and get accurate reporting back on who has completed it.”

“The powerful Activities Builder tool inside the platform is a huge benefit,” Verderber said.

“We utilize it to send SOGs, he said. We can create a new SOG and then send it out as an activity. They review the new SOG and check the box to submit it. It makes it really easy for captains to disseminate the information. In 10 minutes it can be sent out to the entire department. Thirty days later, we can spend another 10 minutes to run a report. Department captains don’t have to worry about it, as opposed to e-mailing a hard copy and telling everyone to sign here.”

With Activities Builder, TargetSolutions makes it easy for everyone in the department to watch relevant videos.

“We can have all the crews watch it,” Verderber said. “We load it, send it out as an activity, say watch this video, and now it’s on there and anyone can pull it up and watch it.”

The overall functionality of TargetSolutions has improved compliance by giving Corona the ability to easily run reports that provide detailed information on who has done what.

“Before, we would send out a document through e-mail and tell everybody to take a look at it, but we didn’t know if they were reading it or not,” Verderber said. “Now, there is a box to check, which gives me the comfort to know they looked at it.”

About TargetSolutions
Founded in 1999, TargetSolutions is the leader in online training and records management for public entities. More than 2,000 organizations across the country use our technology to solve their training needs. We work hard every day to understand our clients’ challenges and deliver powerful tools that save time and money.

The Time to Redefine the Art and Science of Firefighting Is Nearly Upon Us

Blog by Christopher J. Naum
Executive Producer of www.buildingsonfire.com

Today’s incident demands on the fireground are unlike those of the recent past, requiring incident commanders, commanding and company officers and firefighters to have increased technical knowledge of building construction. It also requires heightened sensitivity to fire behavior and fire dynamics, a focus on operational structural stability of the compartment and building envelope, as well as considerations related to occupancy risk vs. the occupancy type.

Without question, there is an immediate need for today’s emerging and operating command and company officers to increase their foundation of knowledge and insights related to modern technology and its relationship with building occupancy, building construction and fire protection engineering.

We need to be ready to modify traditional and conventional strategic operating profiles in order to safeguard companies, personnel and team compositions.

Strategies and tactics must have the combined adequacy of sufficient staffing, fire flow and tactical patience orchestrated that identifies with the fire profiling, predictability of the occupancy and building profile and accounts for presumptive fire behavior within compartments and buildings.

We used to discern with a measured degree of predictability how buildings would perform, react and fail under most fire conditions. Implementing the fundamentals of art and science of firefighting operations built upon nine decades of experience and proven strategies continues to be the model of suppression operations. These same fundamental strategies continue to drive methodologies and curriculums in our current training programs and academies.

The lack of appreciation and the understanding of correlating principles involving fire behavior, fuel and rate of heat release — as well as the growth stages of compartment fires within a structural occupancy — are the defining paths from which the fire service must reexamine operations in order to identify with the predictability of occupancy performance during fire suppression operations. Ultimately, this will increase suppression effectiveness and firefighter safety.

The demands and requirements of modern firefighting, as well as the influence of technology will continue to require the placement of personnel within situations and buildings that carry risk, uncertainty and inherent danger. Risk management needs to become fluid and integrated with intelligent tactical deployments and operations recognizing the risk problematically and not fatalistically, resulting in safety conscious strategies and tactics and operational excellence.

Our world has evolved and changed. There are a variety of technological and sociological demands that create a continuing element of change in the built environment and our infrastructure. With these changes and demands come the requirements to assess these vulnerabilities, hazards, threats and dangers with effective and dynamic risk management and competent command and control.

These changes influence the way we do business in the street and equate to the risks and hazards you and your personnel will be confronted during incident operations. Fire suppression tactics must be adjusted for the rapidly changing methods and materials impacting all forms of building construction, occupancies and structures.

The need to redefine the art and science of firefighting is nearly upon us. Some things do stand the test of time, others need to adjust, evolve and change. Not for the sake of change only, but for the emerging and evolving buildings, structures and occupancies being built, developed or renovated in our communities.

About the Author
Christopher J. Naum, SFPE, has more than 37 years of field and operations experience and previously worked in command, operations and training capacities. Currently serves as the executive producer for several fire service websites, including www.buildingsonfire.com.

“Request a File” Functionality Assists Tracking of Offsite Training

We have recently received a few calls from clients wondering about the new Request a File component in Activities Builder. This new functionality was added a few months ago as an especially handy feature for tracking offsite training.

The Request File component enables administrators to require the user attach a file to the activity before they are able to complete it. In the past, users would have to record the training in TargetSolutions and then hand the physical certificate to the training officer or other administrative personnel.

Now, the user can scan the certificate and the Administrator can view it right from the TargetSolutions platform!

Publish Articulate Presentations as SCORM Courses with TargetSolutions

Attention all clients using Articulate Presenter! Did you know you can publish Articulate files as SCORM courses? Publishing your presentation as a SCORM course enables you to set the minimum amount of time a learner must spend with the content before being able to finish the course and receive credit. You can also build a test using Articulate’s test-building tool (QuizmakerTM) and have the scores populate in your completion reports.

The TargetSolutions platform supports SCORM compliant courses from all sources, but the easy to use Articulate platform makes creating them a cinch! No coding experience is required, simply follow these instructions to publish your Articulate presentation as a SCORM course. For information on how to upload the course, log in to your TargetSolutions account, select the Help tab, Browse Administrator Support and then search “Articulate.”

Do not have Articulate? Check out this link and then contact your Account Manager to purchase the program through us at a discounted rate.

TargetSolutions Embraces NAEMSE Standards

The National Highway Traffic Safety Administration has published a new set of guidelines for EMS education and training and TargetSolutions is implementing the changes.

Previously under the Department of Transportation, the NHTSA’s shift to the National EMS Education Standards formally took place in 2009. Since then, agencies throughout the nation have been gradually incorporating the new guidelines into their training, including TargetSolutions.

Updates to our EMS catalog will include terminology changes, the introduction of new skills and information, and augmented content that will provide a more comprehensive overview of each course topic.

TargetSolutions strives to address the precise knowledge and skill sets specific to each level of pre-hospital care provider. Under the new NAEMSE standards, TargetSolutions will be better able to deliver accurate information to EMS professionals everywhere, so they can safely and effectively do their job.

Who Says Earning a Positive ISO Rating for Fire Departments Has to Be So Difficult?

If you are like most training officers, you have had your share of headaches recording training in preparation for an audit by the Insurance Services Office (ISO). With TargetSolutions’ software, the entire ISO rating for fire departments process is simple.

TargetSolutions has created powerful tools to help you prepare for ISO. We provide access to ready-made, customizable training templates created just for improving the ISO rating for fire departments. After delivering these activities to personnel through our platform, TargetSolutions industry-leading tracking system does the rest. When ISO comes to analyze your employee training records, you will be ready with well organized, detailed training reports.

If you are still tracking training the old-fashioned way, you will be amazed how TargetSolutions’ easy-to-use and efficient recordkeeping applications keep everything logged. Even more importantly, the ISO will be too when looking at your data.

“TargetSolutions has created a records system that clearly allowed our organization to comply (with its ISO audit),” said Guy Keirn, who is a training chief with Pinellas Park Fire Department in Florida. “The process of completing the training section of the report for ISO was seamless using TargetSolutions.”

Are you a client looking to maximize the platform’s capabilities in preparation for ISO? If so, TargetSolutions is here to help! Just e-mail your account manager for information or call (800) 840-8048 for assistance.

TargetSolutions Offers EMS Continuing Education Credits for Individual Customers

Are you an EMT looking to stay certified? Do you know an EMT who is out of work but trying to keep their certification? If so, TargetSolutions has the answer.

In addition to being the No. 1 choice for departments looking to remain compliant and track training records, TargetSolutions makes its EMS catalog available for individual customers. Users can easily and affordably purchase and earn EMS CE credits for individuals with TargetSolutions.

“By offering EMS professionals our courses, they have an easy and affordable way to earn EMS CE credits for individuals,” said Thomas Woodward, who is TargetSolutions’ executive VP of sales and marketing. “The convenient access through our learning management system combined with our accreditation guarantees a consistent, high-quality educational experience every single time.”

When an individual signs up with TargetSolutions, they receive access to online training courses for two years at one low price. The user gains administrative rights on the platform and is able to assign themselves any course in their library. Individual course libraries are determined by each states certification requirements, including states that require CECBEMS. Once the courses are completed, the user can submit the certificate they receive to their state.

With this offering, TargetSolutions has made it easy and affordable for EMS professionals to stay certified.

Since our inception in 1999, TargetSolutions has been committed to providing the industry’s very best online training content. We take great pride in the fact our web-based library features more than 160 hours of EMS recertification courses that have been accredited by various regulatory agencies. TargetSolutions’ EMS content is accepted in almost every state. Please check online for more information about your state.

“At TargetSolutions, we strive to continually improve our EMS library because we understand that good, comprehensive training not only makes life easier, it actually saves lives,” said TargetSolutions’ Content Architect Jeremy Lynch.

About TargetSolutions
Founded in 1999, TargetSolutions is the leader in online training and records management for public entities. More than 2,000 organizations across the country use our technology to solve their training needs. We work hard every day to understand our clients’ challenges and deliver powerful tools that save time and money.

Top Five Principles for Incoming Rookie Firefighters

Blog by Brian Ward
Officer with Gwinnett County Fire Department in Georgia

Awhile back I asked my crew members their opinions on the top five principles for rookie firefighters. I had everyone write down their ideas, I mulled it over, and then put together my own list.

The newcomer was entering the field with the basics (Firefighter I, Firefighter II, Hazmat Operations and EMT-I). Our academy does a good job of preparing these firefighters with an extensive 32-week recruit school. However, adapting to the field and expanding on the basic items learned in recruit school can prove difficult if the field personnel do not set the tone on the newcomers very first day.

As I thought about what five principles I wanted to pass on, several jumped to the front of my head. In order to keep rookie firefighters from mental overload, or confusing them with 10,000 different policies and guidelines, I wanted to get right to the most important things they need to understand.

Now, I’ve seen published lists of what rookie firefighters should know in different magazines before and those reports are generally applicable to all fire departments. My major concern, though, was to identify specifics pertaining to our crew, apparatus and territory. I decided there were no barriers to what types of principles I would instill. These principles could be anything from equipment location to station duties.

The list below contains the items I decided to be the most important. I believe that if everyone in our station follows these simple rules, it will ensure everyone goes home safely and all the other skills and attitudes will fall in line:

1. We are a motivated crew. We train every day, including Sundays for at least one hour. Accept it. Be the first to participate in the drills and train as if your life depends on it because you know what, it does!

2. There is no I Can’t on the incident scene. The same thing goes for the training grounds. There is no I Can’t, only I Won’t. If you’re unable to complete the drill, do it again and again until you’re successful.

3. Listen before acting. Do exactly what the officer tells you to do on the incident scene, and stay one step ahead of the officer. For example, if the officer has his bunker pants on, you should already have your pants, coats, gloves and helmet on. Understand the difference between thinking ahead and freelancing.

4. Learn your duties and do them before you’re told. This will earn you respect in the station that will turn into respect on the incident scene as you gain experience. Crew camaraderie and integrity starts in the station.

5. Learn the equipment on the apparatus. One tool equals one compartment opened.

These items are simple in concept and should be upheld in the station. Simply talking to your new rookie could be the difference in him becoming an asset, or a liability. As a leader, do not allow the motivation of the new firefighter to slip away. That goes for everyone in your crew.

If we follow these principles, I believe we will be better individually, and as a team. Remember, in the very beginning, you have the chance to mold new firefighters into what they will be for the next 30 years. It’s an important responsibility to get them started on the right track.

As always train hard, take care and be safe.

Editor’s Note: This article originally posted with TargetSolutions in November of 2010.

About the Author
Brian Ward is an engineer/acting officer with Gwinnett County Fire Department in Georgia. He is a past training officer, chairman of the Metro Atlanta Training Officers and currently serves on the Honeywell Advisory Council. He is a State of Georgia Advocate for Everyone Goes Home and the Membership Task Force Co-Chair and Live Fire Instructor for ISFSI. Brian was recently awarded the National Seal of Excellence from the NFFF/EGH.