Technology with a Purpose

Archive for May, 2013

Save and Assign Tool Allows Platform Managers and Users to Complete Different Portions of Same Activity

 

TargetSolutions newest application, Save and Assign, goes live tonight at 11 p.m. (PST). This new tool gives administrators and supervisors the ability to partially complete different portions of the same activity. The end result is more consistent online record keeping and improved efficiency when delivering repetitive activities, including evaluations, certificates, inspections, etc.

The application, which is accessible for platform managers through the Administration tab, can be found underneath the Record Completions tool. Here are four key ways departments will be able to utilize the Save and Assign application:

Evaluation Forms: Platform managers can create an evaluation form and partially complete it before delivering to users. After receiving, users are required to respond and provide e-signatures. This eliminates paper files and gives managers more flexibility assigning the same template to multiple users.

Certificate Completions: In addition to providing platform managers and users with the ability to complete different portions of the same activity, Save and Assign relieves managers from having to upload multiple certificates on behalf of employees.

Training Records: Complete certain portions of an activity for consistency, while leaving other information for users for accuracy. For instance, complete fields like instructor or location and allow the user to enter notes or complete a class evaluation.

Group Training: Deliver videos or presentations as a group and then log any data about the session accurately. This feature requires more information from users, making online record keeping stronger in case of an audit.

TargetSolutions has created several different support articles that can be found in the Help Center. There is also a new Save and Assign Tutorial Video available in the Help Center. If you have any other questions about this tool, please contact us today!

New Save and Assign Tool Helps Clients Build Whatever They Want, the Way They Want

 

TargetSolutions prides itself on delivering both innovative technology and exceptional customer service. Our latest application is what happens when those two critical missions blend together.

After hearing the same request from several different clients, TargetSolutions took action with the new Save and Assign tool. This enhanced assignment-building tool that will be released for the first time Thursday, May 30, allows platform managers and users to complete different portions of the same activity. The end result is more consistent records management system and efficiency when delivering repetitive activities, including evaluations, certificates, inspections, etc.

“Departments looking to give both platform managers and users the ability to partially fill out an activity before assigning it are going to love this new application,” said TargetSolutions’ Product Manager Misty Pratt. “This is really done with the goal of making training records more accurate by letting admins have supervisors and users complete separate parts of the same activity.”

TargetSolutions wouldn’t be the company it is today if not for the tremendous feedback of clients like Bill Voorhies of DeKalb Fire Department in Georgia. Chief Voorhies spent several months working as one of TargetSolutions’ beta clients during the creation of this new tool.

“Save and Assign helps keep training records consistent,” said Voorhies, whose department joined TargetSolutions in January of 2011. “By giving users the ability to fill in information related to a location, or an instructor, and then send it back complete is important to the integrity of our training records.”

Voorhies also says the ability to batch-enter information will save a significant amount of time.

“Our entire department recently had to attend a customer service class, but different people went at different times,” Voorhies explained. “With Save and Assign, we’re able to fill in information for everyone about the class and then let individuals enter the specific date they attended. That’s a big help.”

TargetSolutions’ Director of Clients Services Jenny Fergason sees huge potential in the Save and Assign application for departments that are logging their probationary reports online.

“Officers now have the ability to complete a probationary firefighter report electronically for probationary members,” Fergason said. “Then, they can send it to the probationary member for final validation and to provide their e-signature. This application provides departments the ability to provide a second layer of validation to their activities. Many clients have requested this feature and we’re excited to be able to deliver an easy-to-use solution.”

Here are four ways departments will be able to utilize the Save and Assign application:

Evaluation Forms: Platform managers can create an evaluation form and partially complete it before delivering to users. After receiving, users are required to respond to questions or provide e-signatures. This helps departments eliminate paper files and gives managers more flexibility when assigning the same template to multiple users.

Certificate Completions: In addition to providing platform managers and users with the ability to complete different portions of the same activity, Save and Assign relieves managers from having to upload multiple certificates on behalf of employees. Now, they can just save the template and have users upload their own certificates.

Training Records: As a platform manager, your employee training records need to be accurate and consistent. Save and Assign allows you to complete certain portions of an activity for consistency, while leaving other information for users for accuracy. For instance, complete fields like instructor or location and allow the user to enter notes or complete a class evaluation. This tool simplifies records and information management.

Group Training: Save and Assign gives platform managers a way to deliver videos or presentations as a group and then log any data about the session accurately, while still assigning the material to allow a test to be taken or feedback to be provided by the user. This feature requires more information from users, making employee training records stronger in case of an audit.

Voorhies said he was impressed by TargetSolutions’ willingness to adapt and improve the platform for its clients.

“Everyone has been very responsive in finding ways to make things work better,” he said. “It’s not just about making it work globally either, but all the way down to my department.

If you have questions about the new Save and Assign application, please don’t hesitate to contact your account manager. You can also learn more by searching Save and Assign in the Help Center of the platform.

About TargetSolutions
TargetSolutions is the leading provider of web-based technology solutions for fire and EMS organizations. These solutions enable organizations to maintain compliance, reduce losses, deliver curriculum, and track all station-level tasks, certifications and training activities.

From Skeptic to Supporter Fire Inspector Changes Mind about TargetSolutions Training Management System

The Hendersonville Fire Department in Tennessee has been dedicated to its citizens since its inception as a volunteer fire service in 1970. A few years later, Hendersonville became a full-time paid department, equipped to accomplish its mission of protecting lives and property within our community.

With a team of 100 people spread across six stations, Hendersonville responds to more than 4,500 calls per year. In order to meet that challenge, the department works hard to improve in all areas of the profession. But without a full-time training officer, managing training requirements had become difficult for the department. And the issue was only magnified when training needed to be reported for ISO compliance.

“Not everybody knew exactly what counted for ISO or what type of training they should be doing,” said the department’s Fire Inspector Nate Renzella. “It was like closing your eyes, throwing darts at a dartboard, and hoping you met the requirements.”

With a clear need, Renzella decided to research and evaluate the effectiveness of the TargetSolutions platform.

“I thought it might tank,” said Renzella, who studied TargetSolutions as part of his final research project toward obtaining a Master’s Degree from Oklahoma State University. “I didn’t think guys would be comfortable getting some of their training done on the computer; but it’s been just the opposite. I’ve been pleasantly surprised.”

With TargetSolutions’ ISO Training Tracker, every member of the department is able see what required assignments need to be completed in order to fulfill ISO standards. And the best part is training officers can easily generate comprehensive reports that have been built specifically for ISO reporting purposes.

“With TargetSolutions, we’re able to show auditors what we’re doing,” said Renzella. “I can pull a report on anything within the system and demonstrate its effectiveness and efficiency.”

Hendersonville is looking forward to satisfying its ISO requirements in such an economically effective manner. Rather than having to pay thousands of dollars to attend expensive training conferences, the department’s personnel are able to substitute online courses for certain training material.

“This is a very cost-effective program to get our staff a great deal of training and also meet training needs,” said Renzella, who was pleasantly surprised by his department’s usage of the program.

In fact, Renzella’s skepticism against TargetSolutions and online training, in general has been completely altered, he said.

“If you were thinking about implementing TargetSolutions in your department, but are unsure whether your staff will use it, we’ve found that they will and it works a lot better than you might think,” said Renzella. “It’s something new. It’s different. It engages people. TargetSolutions is not what you’re used to, but in a good way.”

About TargetSolutions
TargetSolutions is the leading provider of web-based technology solutions for fire and EMS organizations. These solutions enable organizations to maintain compliance, reduce losses, deliver curriculum, and track all station-level tasks, certifications and training activities.

Pre-Arrival Situational Awareness Looking to the Past to Predict the Future

Blog by Dr. Richard B. Gasaway, PhD, EFO, CFO
Retired Fire Chief and Web Master for Situational Awareness Matters

The foundation to forming your situational awareness is size-up the capturing of clues and cues in your environment. Those clues and cues are then used to comprehend what is happening and that, in turn, helps you make accurate predictions about future events. Your understanding of the clues and cues can be improved when you look into the past.

As I think about pre-arrival situational awareness I am reminded of the movie Back to the Future. There, we are introduced to Marty McFly, his family, and a few other essential characters. Then, when Marty is transported back in time, he begins to see the back story of how a chain of events led up to his modern day life as he knows it. This improves Marty’s understanding of why things are the way they are.

The ability to look into the past to get this back story is the essence of pre-arrival situational awareness. And while, unlike Marty McFly, you don’t have a time machine and you won’t be able to alter the course of history, you can construct a look into the past through your mind’s eye.

Assessing the current situation and then constructing a coherent understanding about how the facts of the incident came into existence forms your pre-arrival situational awareness. For example, let’s assume you respond to a traffic accident where a car slid off an icy highway and rolled down an embankment. As you arrive you see a car about 100 feet down over a hill and a person is still inside the vehicle. You grab your essential medical gear and start making your way down to conduct your triage.

STOP! Before you even exit your vehicle, develop your pre-arrival situational awareness by asking: How did the situation I now see come to be? In other words, how did that vehicle, which just a short time ago was traveling safely down the highway, end up where it is now? Questions like this may be difficult to answer because you are lacking the facts. Maybe a deer ran in front of the vehicle and they swerved to miss it and lost control. Maybe they fell asleep. Maybe they were texting and were distracted. Or, maybe the vehicle hit a patch of ice on the bridge overpass that is just short distance up the road from the accident scene and they lost control.

SOMETHING caused that car to end up there. This is where youd ask the critical second question: Could history repeat itself? In other words could another driver fall victim to the same fate as the first and end up in the very same place? If the plausible answer is yes, then you need to take steps to protect yourself from becoming a casualty if that happens.

Looking to the past to predict the future pits us in a war between possibilities and probabilities. Is it POSSIBLE that another car could do the same thing and end up in the same place. The answer is yes. In fact, the possibility of anything happening, regardless of how bazaar it may seem, is always 100 percent. Anything is possible. But is it probable? And this is where it can get challenging for you. The more unusual the event, or the less experience you have with dealing with past events of similar circumstances, the more you may explain the incident away as an isolated occurrence freak event that is not likely to repeat itself.

It is not by coincidence that I chose the example of a traffic accident. Unlike most fire incidents, the unforeseen future event at a traffic accident, potentially putting you in grave danger, will be caused directly by the actions of humans. And human behavior can be terribly difficult to predict.

As you think about it, the list of probably causes that led to the vehicle losing control and rolling down the embankment is relatively small: Medical problem, distraction, mechanical (like a tire blow out), swerved to avoid (another vehicle, animal, debris in the roadway), lost control (slid on the ice, hydroplaned, excessive speed), impairment (drugs, alcohol, fatigue) and maybe a few others.

The probability of a subsequent driver losing control of their vehicle due to a medical condition at exactly the same place and rolling down the same embankment and ending up in the same spot as the previous vehicle is relatively low. But depending on the circumstances, the probability of another driver being distracted, impaired or losing control and ending up in the same place is much higher.

So, before you put yourself into harm’s way, fire up the Flux Capacitor and travel back in time and construct the back story see how the event ended up as you now see it. Then come back to the future and take steps to protect yourself just in case history decides to repeat itself.

About the Author
Description:
Dr. Gasaway is widely considered to be one of the nation’s leading authorities on situational awareness and decision making processes used by first responders. In addition to his 30-plus year career in the fire service, including 22 years as a fire chief, Dr. Gasaway has a second passion: Uncovering and applying research in brain science for the benefit of first responders. His website, Situational Awareness Matters (www.SAMatters.com) has enjoyed over a million visits since its launch in October 2011. He can be reached via e-mail at Support@RichGasaway.com.

 

Classes with TargetSolutions’ Product Specialist Help Clients Use ISO Solution to Full Potential

 

TargetSolutions ISO Training Tracker enables departments to complete, track and report ISO requirements. But cutting-edge technology isn’t always enough. Sometimes, gaining proper understanding of how to utilize the technology is what truly makes a difference.

With this in mind, Product Specialist Tim Riley has stopped at several departments to demonstrate best practices for utilizing TargetSolutions credential-tracking application. In March, Riley spent several days at DeKalb Fire Department in Georgia and then in April, several more at Jacksonville Fire and Rescue Department. There were members from 16 other departments in attendance at the Jacksonville event.

Tim Riley

“We spent the first half of the course training on ISO requirements and how to capture the training and then got into general site familiarization and tricks of the trade,” said Riley. “Many attendees had little or no understanding of ISO prior to the class. They were ecstatic with what they learned.”

Riley’s assessment was echoed by Captain Donnie Griffis of the Waycross Fire Department in Georgia.

“We recently attended a seminar that Tim put on and the information that he gave us was very helpful,” Griffis said. “He presented it in a way that should direct our department in using the program to its full potential.”

Riley, who prior to joining TargetSolutions was a chief with the Pinellas Park Fire Department in Florida, was instrumental in the creation of TargetSolutions’ ISO application.

“We’ve built specific custom activities because we know what is going to count toward ISO,” said Riley. “The ISO auditors love the way our system generate reports, because it’s in the format they want.”

After Riley covers ISO, he discusses some of the platform’s other capabilities, like ensuring credit for what he calls “lost training hours” and capturing all the various types of training firefighters typically complete and don’t receive credit for.

If your department is interested learning more about ISO tracking and/or the TargetSolutions platform, please contact your account manager.

Helping Emergency Responders Identify Hybrid and Electric Vehicles on the Roadway

Blog by Jason Emery
Courtesy of NFPAs Electric Vehicle Safety Training Website

As hybrid and electric vehicles become more popular on the roadways, it is more important than ever for responders to understand the best identification methods. Most responders tend to rely on external badging as the sole identification method; this however can result in some vehicles not being properly identified. First keep in mind that there are no industry standards for external markings. Vehicle markings can range from all four sides to a complete absence of external badging. Responders must also consider that the potential exists for external markings to become hidden or dislodged as a result of a crash.

During an emergency response, the most appropriate action is for first responders to treat any vehicle as if it is some type of alternative fueled vehicle until you can make positive identification one way or another. Additionally, if at first glance you do not see any badging, be sure to look for less conventional identification methods such as battery vents, dashboard logos or indicators, orange cabling, etc. to ensure that you are not dealing with a hybrid or electric vehicle. For more detailed information on proper identification methods take the online class available soon on our website, or be sure to attend a training class in your area using the NFPA classroom program.

Hybrids vs. Plugin Hybrids
With the release of more and more hybrid and EV models, it may be difficult to understand some of their more subtle differences. In the case of hybrids and plugin hybrids, while there are certainly some engineering differences, from an emergency responder perspective they are handled the same.

Hybrids are self-contained units that use both electric motor(s) and an internal combustion engine (ICE) to propel the vehicle. The high voltage battery is recharged through power taken from the ICE and through a process called regenerative braking that captures energy from the braking process. Both of these methods ensure that the user never has to consciously make an effort to charge the battery, it’s done automatically.

Plugin hybrids are simply an offshoot of that concept; they allow for a connection to be made to a Level I or Level II charging station for another charging source for the high voltage battery. These vehicles also include a larger capacity battery to store that extra energy and improve the overall energy efficiency of the vehicle. In the event that you cannot connect to a charger, the high-voltage battery is recharged through the same means as a standard hybrid. Ironically enough when hybrids first were released, there was a concern among manufacturers that people would not understood that they did not need to be plugged in. A decade later that concept has become more acceptable to the general public and the plugin hybrid was born.

There is essentially no difference for the first responder in how we handle these vehicles in an emergency situation. Both types contain a high voltage power source and an internal combustion engine with a fuel source and should be treated as such. The only real difference would occur if the plugin hybrid was attached to the charging station at the time of the incident. In this case you would want to secure the power source supplying the charging station as a first step in mitigating the scene.

As always, be sure to use the Identify, Immobilize and Disable approach on all vehicles and assume there is a potential to be dealing with a Hybrid or Electric Vehicle when approaching a crash or fire scene.

>> Blog courtesy of Jason Emery of NFPAs Electric Vehicle Safety Training website. For more information on hybrid and electric vehicles please visit http://www.evsafetytraining.org/. For a more in-depth look at this vehicle and its emergency response procedures, please be sure to take the NFPA/GM Volt safety training course.

 

About the Author
Jason Emery, who has more than 21 years in the fire service, is a lieutenant with the Waterbury Fire Department in Connecticut. Emery is assigned to the rescue/hazmat company. He has a BS in fire science from the University of New Haven and is a member of the International Society of Fire Service Instructors. He is a subject matter expert for the National Fire Protection Association, a member of its development team, and the lead instructor for its Hybrid and Electric Vehicle Training program.

Police Department Sees Quality and Efficiency of Training Elevated with TargetSolutions

north attleboro police department

The North Attleboro Police Department in Massachussetts is maximizing TargetSolutions’ online training management system to streamline the delivery of training assignments.

Serving approximately 30,000 residents in Southeastern Massachusetts, the North Attleboro Police Department is responsible for providing quality police services in an effective, responsible and professional manner.

The 54-member department that answers more than 31,000 calls each year is committed to maintaining order, delivering timely response to every incident and improving the quality of life for everyone living within the city’s 19-square miles.

“Anyone associated with law enforcement, however, knows this is not an easy mission. When it comes down to it, superior training can make all the difference in the world,” says North Attleboro Police Departments Erin Belham.

“Fortunately, TargetSolutions, the industry’s leading online training provider, is here to help elevate effectiveness. As a client since September of 2012, it didn’t take the department long to see the platforms benefits,” says Belham.

“We are very happy with what TargetSolutions has brought to our department, it’s helped us improve the quality and efficiency of our training,” said Belham, who works in the departments training division. “It has made training more readily available and simple to deliver.”

North Attleboro has seen significant advances in the quality of training since signing on with TargetSolutions. Belham says the exceptional video content has been tremendous. With hundreds of training videos in its library covering every law enforcement topic imaginable – including Defensive Tactics, Ethics, Gangs, Legal, Pursuit, Traffic Stops, and much, much more – TargetSolutions helps the department improve overall performance.

“The videos are very informative and provide the officers with valuable tools they can use in everyday situations,” said Belham, whose department uses the videos for roll-call training. “These videos help maintain the safety of everyone. There are various topics available; many of them are tactical ways to approach people in different and stressful situations. We know situations can turn bad in a hurry, so we need to be prepared. These videos help provide us with the knowledge and tools to keep everyone safe.”

The quality training videos are key, but the innovative system for distributing the content is what truly sets TargetSolutions apart. By using the platforms comprehensive web-based training management tools, North Attleboro is able to easily disseminate and log all types of activities, not just training videos.

Departments are able to store important documents, videos and other files in their File Center and then easily distribute. They can ensure accountability with e-signatures.

“We also use it to notify the members of our department of any new memos that contain information such as shift changes, uniform changes and any information they need to be made aware of,” Belham explains. “We send out monthly legal updates to keep everyone up to date with the changing laws. Sometimes we include a test with the activity. By doing it this way, we can see that everyone has seen the memo and signed off on it. We use the site as much as possible and as a primary way to get information to the whole department.”

This 21st century recordkeeping functionality has enabled North Attleboro to go green, eliminating the need for endless paper trails. TargetSolutions is able to serve as a virtual file cabinet, storing documents in a password-protected online database.

“TargetSolutions has decreased the amount of paperwork; we don’t have to print out individual copies for the whole department. By posting it on the website we can be sure that everyone has received and read any updates or notifications,” Belham said. “We are importing all the rules and regulations for our department onto the website with the intention to streamline the training and replace the individual binders each member of the department has. By assigning these to the officers we insure they have all read and have the most current version.

“We love the fact that the members of our department do not have to be at the Police Station to access this information. They can be at home, and access the system at any time of the day on their Smartphone, or tablet.”

Erin Belham, North Attleboro Police Department (Mass.)

For more information on how other departments just like North Attleboro are benefitting from TargetSolutions powerful system, please contact us today.

About TargetSolutions
TargetSolutions is the leading provider of web-based technology solutions for fire and EMS organizations. These solutions enable organizations to maintain compliance, reduce losses, deliver curriculum, and track all station-level tasks, certifications and training activities.

SDFD’s Ventilation Training Still Top Resource in TargetSolutions’ File-Sharing Application

One of TargetSolutions most popular applications is Community Resources. This file-sharing tool gives administrators the ability to access and share videos, organizational policies, inspection forms, and more with other clients nationwide.

“Community Resources allows departments to have access to the best training techniques with the ability to adopt those techniques and incorporate them into their own training programs,” said TargetSolutions Vice President of Operations Alex Day. “It’s different than YouTube in that it allows a department to not only review training practices, but allows access within ones own site to deliver and distribute accordingly.”

Here are some of the top resources within TargetSolutions, all of which have been viewed more than 1,000 times, and in the case of SDFD Ventilation Training, more than 7,300 times.

SDFD Ventilation Training: This PowerPoint presentation by the San Diego Fire-Rescue Department has been viewed more than any other resource and maintains a 4star rating.

Ventilation Skills: SDFDs counterpart to the Ventilation Training video, more than 90 organizations are currently using this resource. The file maintains an impressive 4star rating.

Use of Facemasks and Respirators: A podcast from the CDC that demonstrates facemasks and respirators used in public settings during an influenza pandemic.

Working with Stress (Part 1): With work-related stress continuing to be a growing concern, this video from the CDC raises awareness for workers.

Safety First in All We Do Video: This video covers offers interesting tips for maintaining safety in organizations.

With more than 4,500 resources currently in TargetSolutions, there is information to suit almost every organization’s need. Approximately 125 files have been uploaded to the platform each month since the tool was introduced in 2009. With its powerful search engine, users can easily locate topics they are seeking in Community Resources.

For more information on this application, please contact TargetSolutions.

 

SDFD’s Ventilation Training PowerPoint in the Community Resources application has been viewed more than 7,300 times and has a 4 out of 5 rating from other clients.

 

Users Can Now Access Their TargetSolutions Login Page through Assignment Alert E-mails

TargetSolutions has heard your requests and has taken action! Now, when users receive an assignment alert e-mail, their organization’s site URL will be available and prominently displayed in the e-mail. This update makes it easier for users to access assignments.

“We’ve heard some requests from clients to provide their sites URL in the alert e-mail,” said Software Engineer Manager Dustyn Borghi. “We are always listening to our clients’ feedback and trying to make our system as user-friendly as possible. This new feature gives users the ability to go straight to their organizations login page. From there they just need to log in to access their assignment information.”

TargetSolutions works hard to deliver on feedback from clients. If you have any other questions about the platform, please contact us today!

The Mobile Application That Puts Citizen Rescuers Into Motion

Technology’s impact on the fire service has been monumental. New tools are constantly being introduced to the market to make emergency response more efficient.

One example is the PulsePoint mobile application spearheaded by San Ramon Valley (Calif.) Fire Protection District Chief Richard Price.

Price discussed the innovative solution Tuesday during Fire-Rescue Med in Las Vegas. The application for iPhones was created to accomplish two things: 1) Improve cardiac arrest survival rates through improved bystander performance and active citizenship; 2) Generate support in the communities where departments are utilizing the tool.

This app has the rare ability today to really foster goodwill in our communities, Price said. I’ve seen it time and again how appreciative communities are by this.

The app is brilliant, but simple. Its works by alerting CPR-trained citizens with a text message when someone nearby is having a sudden cardiac event in a public location (not residential). The app directs citizen rescuers to patients and informs them of location of nearest available AED.

If we can get those AED’s out of the cabinets and onto the chests of patients, this app has tremendous potential, said Price, who is working to get other agencies to implement the application in their own communities.

With more than 1,000 people dying each day from sudden cardiac arrests – an average of one person every two minutes – Prices message resonated with the EMS-focused audience. As high as 50 percent of patients, would survive if CPR and AED’s were used within the first five minutes. Every minute that lapses, the chance of survival is reduced by 7-10 percent.

“We’re trying to improve awareness of bystanders who know CPR,” Price said.

“The app is currently being used in more than 300 communities across eight states and two countries,” Price said. “Its value has been recognized by various organizations, including the IAFC, which awarded it the Fire Service Award for Excellence and the American Heart Association, which tabbed it a Heart of Gold winner.”

For more on the creation of the application, please click here.