Technology with a Purpose

Archive for April, 2015

Simplify Training Management with Innovative Tracking Applications for Public Entities

If your organization is looking to track training and compliance tasks more efficiently, you are going to be impressed with TargetSolutions’ online training management system.

The web-based system provides government agencies with more than just online training courses. In addition to hundreds of hours of online safety training – including OSHA, Human Resources, and Driver Safety, among other topics – TargetSolutions features pre-built electronic tracking forms and easy-to-use applications that streamline operations.

Download this brochure to learn more about TargetSolutions’ pre-built Platform Solutions for Risk Managers.

 

Working in Extreme Temperatures: Supplemental Information for California

California’s heat illness prevention standard applies to all outdoor places of employment, but primarily impacts the agriculture, construction, landscaping, oil and gas extraction, and transportation industries.

The California Occupational Safety and Health Standards Board approved proposed changes to the state’s heat illness prevention standard and requested a spring 2015 effective start date. Employers are required to revise their heat illness programs and train employees in the changes.

The amendments specify water and shade requirements, and add new language on emergency response procedures, acclimation and training.

While TargetSolutions will not be updating its “Working in Extreme Temperatures” course, because it is delivered across the country and the changes will only apply to California clients, it has provided supplemental information inside Community Resources. Site administrators can search for the following two documents:

  • Cal-OSHA-Heat-Illness-Prevention-Training-2015.pdf
  • Cal-OSHA-Heat-Illness-Prevention-Training-2015.ppt

There is no difference in the information contained in the two documents, they are just different file formats. These can be added to the end of the course or assigned out through Activities Builder.

TargetSolutions’ Working in Extreme Temperatures course educates employees on how to prevent, identify and respond when exposed to dramatic temperatures that can lead to serious medical emergencies. The course is featured in TargetSolutions’ OSHA library with the regulatory reference of OSHA 29 CFR 1910, T8 CCR 3395.

If you would like to print this information out, please click here to open a PDF. If you would like more information, contact us at (800) 840-8048.

 

How to Manage Stress in the Workplace

TargetSolutions’ Workplace Stress course provides organizations with the ability to properly train employees to control and maintain healthy levels of stress at work.

Workplace stress can impact employees’ work performance and cause long-term health issues. According to the American Institute of Stress, 80 percent of workers feel stress on the job, and nearly half of those say they need help learning how to manage stress.

It is important both organizations and employees focus on tactics to manage workplace stress.

TargetSolutions’ online training course, “Workplace Stress,” educates employees on how to maintain healthy stress levels. Throughout this self-paced course, personnel will learn life, relaxation, and time management techniques to enhance stress survival skills and control positive stress in the workplace.

If you have any questions about TargetSolutions’ online training catalog, please contact us at (800) 840-8048. 

What Makes a Great Company Officer?

Being a company officer in the fire service is tremendous amount of responsibility. It is important one understands the rank and what it entails. 

Blog by Steve Prziborowski

Santa Clara County Fire Department (Los Gatos, Calif.)

The rank of company officer, is one of the most challenging and important ranks within the fire service.
Regardless of what your agency calls the position (captain, lieutenant, company officer, sergeant, etc.), that person is responsible for managing a fire station and/or company is the one with the greatest chance of making or breaking the perception of the department.

Why?

For a number of reasons: most importantly, when someone calls 911 for a situation, the responding fire company is typically supervised by a company officer who has the best opportunity to represent the fire department in the best possible way.

Also, most emergency incidents are managed by just one fire company (engine, truck, etc.), not counting an ambulance, which has a company officer on board as the supervisor, or as some like to say, “the designated adult.”

So what makes a great company officer? Notice I didn’t say “good” or “awesome.” Good is coming to work each day on time, doing the bare minimum, not getting in trouble, basically collecting a paycheck if working for a career department, and doing the old “eight-to-eight, out the gate” routine.

Awesome is walking on water and sheer perfection, both extremely rare and unrealistic since we promote humans to positions of leadership, and as we know, humans are not perfect and make mistakes.

Back to what makes a great company officer … While there are a number of things, I honestly think you can narrow it down to the following, with the first one being: Do your job!

Doing your job covers everything, doesn’t it? If only it was that easy, I know. Besides doing your job, some other key things that make a great company officer include, but are not limited to, establishing and maintaining effective working relationships, being the training officer of your crew, striving for credibility and respect (as opposed to being liked), and last but not least, being the designated adult when necessary! 

Nobody said the job of company officer was going to be easy – if it were, everyone would be doing it!


About the Author
Steve Prziborowski has more than 21 years of fire service experience, currently serving as the Deputy Chief of Administrative Services for the Santa Clara County Fire Department (Los Gatos, Calif.), where he has served since 1995. Steve is also an instructor for the Chabot College Fire Technology Program (Hayward, Calif.), where he has been instructing fire technology and EMS classes since 1993.

He is a current Board Member for the California Fire Chiefs Association, serving as the Area 5 North Director, a Former President of the Northern California Training Officers Association, and he received the 2008 California Fire Instructor of the year award. He is a state-certified Chief Officer and Master Instructor, and has received Chief Fire Officer Designation and Chief Training Officer Designation through the Commission on Professional Credentialing.

He has a master’s degree in emergency services administration, and has completed the Executive Fire Officer Program at the National Fire Academy. He is a member of the IAFC FRI Program Planning Committee, is a regular presenter at fire service events across the country, and has authored numerous articles in all of the major fire service publications. He is also the author of three books, which were published in the fall of 2013: “How to Excel At Fire Department Promotional Exams,” “The Future Firefighter’s Preparation Guide,” and “Reach For The Badge – How To Master The Fire Department Entry-Level Testing Process.”

TargetSolutions and VCOS Renew Partnership to Deliver 2015 Training Officer Recognition Award

SAN DIEGO – TargetSolutions, the leading provider of online training and recordkeeping tools for public safety agencies, is excited to announce it is teaming up again with the IAFC’s Volunteer & Combination Officers Section for the 2015 Training Officer Recognition Award.

The award is designed to acknowledge outstanding performance by a chief, training officer, or other individual acquainted with training who has exhibited innovation for firefighter training, a commitment to best practices in training, and operational effectiveness at their department.

“The opportunity to work with the VCOS to recognize one of its members for going above and beyond in their role as a fire service training officer is something we are honored to do,” said TargetSolutions’ Executive Vice President Thom Woodward.

“This award is about honoring an individual for their dedication to delivering exceptional firefighter training. TargetSolutions is focused on helping firefighters become more prepared for the challenges they face through quality training. We see it as a great privilege to work with the IAFC and recognize an individual with that same goal.”

Thom Woodward, TargetSolutions, Executive VP

Nominations for the award are being accepted now through May 31. The winner will receive a trip to Atlanta for Fire-Rescue International, which is scheduled Aug. 26-29. Round-trip airfare and hotel accommodations, as well as a plaque commemorating the award, will be presented to the winner.

All IAFC members are eligible for the award, which will be announced at the VCOS annual meeting during FRI. The winner must be in attendance to accept the award.

Last year, TargetSolutions sponsored the VCOS award, which went to Capt. Chip Everett of Oshtemo Township Fire Department in Michigan.

In addition to the Training Officer Recognition Award, TargetSolutions is offering VCOS members a discount on the industry’s most powerful online training management system. Departments will receive $500 off TargetSolutions’ set-up fee, plus an additional 10 percent off user fees. If interested in this discount, please click here.

About TargetSolutions
TargetSolutions delivers cutting-edge software applications, engaging online training courses, and world-class customer service. The company was founded in 1999 and today there are more than 2,000 organizations across the country using TargetSolutions’ innovative technology to solve their training challenges. TargetSolutions is headquartered in San Diego, Calif. For more information, please call 1-800-840-8048 or check online at www.targetsolutions.com.

About IAFC Volunteer & Combination Officers Section
VCOS provides chiefs and chief officers who manage volunteers within a volunteer or combination fire, rescue or EMS delivery system with information, education, services and representation to enhance their professionalism. For more information, check online at www.iafc.org/micrositeVCOSorg/.

Law Enforcement Training Is Key to Better Performance

KYTX CBS19.tv – News, Weather,

With so many controversial stories in the news, law enforcement training on deadly force has never been a more critical topic. The most recent high-profile video to go mainstream, which showed an officer in North Charleston, S.C. shoot and kill an unarmed man, put even more scrutiny on law enforcement training practices.

Lonny Wilder, who serves as a regional sales manager for TargetSolutions, was recently interviewed by KYTX in Texas. Wilder believes the incident in South Carolina shows how important it is for police agencies to undergo a thorough review of their training policies.

“It’s clear the law enforcement community has to internalize and take a good long breath, and focus again on guidelines and standard operating procedures,” said Wilder.

One efficient way for police agencies to train more effectively is with TargetSolutions, which features more than 240 online law enforcement training courses, as well as public safety’s leading software for policy management.

“TargetSolutions not only provides Law Enforcement agencies with valuable training courses on issues like ‘Officer Involved Shootings’ and ‘Police Shooting Tactics,’ but the technology to schedule, deliver and track everything an agency is doing to train personnel,” said Wilder. “TargetSolutions also automates the management of agency accreditation, credentials, licenses, city policies and equipment inspections to help police agencies streamline operations.”

 

How to Attack Attic Fires: Strategic, Tactical and Task-Level Considerations

Phoenix Fire Department Deputy Chief Jeff Case spoke in January during Firehouse World in San Diego. His topic covered critical factors one should consider when creating a plan of attack on an attic fire. Chief Case took some time to speak with TargetSolutions recently to answer a few questions about how to approach fire department training for attic fires.

 
Attic fires present so many unique challenges. What are some of the tactical priorities firefighters need to consider when they are faced with an attic fire?

I think the first thing is to realize that you can’t approach every fire the same. The approach we take when discussing attic fires is to make sure that one considers the unique characteristics of an attic fire compared to a room and contents fire.

If you have sized it up right – upon your arrival – an isolated attic fire has not caused significant interior damage to a homeowner’s things or to the interior contents. Therefore, your primary focus should still be to put the fire out, but to also make sure that the approach you take puts a priority on saving the homeowner’s stuff versus saving their trusses.

People really don’t care about their trusses. Their roof can be replaced, but interior contents – rooms, valuables, and things we really don’t have the ability to make a decision in regards to what is the most valuable to somebody – those valuables can’t be replaced. So your approach should be to create and execute a plan that addresses putting the fire out while simultaneously salvaging a homeowner’s things.

We need to set a priority that once we have an all clear, or life safety addressed, our primary focus is on making sure we save people’s things, and that secondary damage – the damage that we cause – doesn’t add to the loss of people’s valuables. Basically, putting an attic fire attack plan in place addressing that priority is the focus of how we address attic fires.

What are some of the most critical factors on the fireground that firefighters need to keep in mind? How can these factors help them determine their strategy?

I think when addressing attic fires, the most critical factors are, “is the fire isolated?” Also known as, what is the state of the fire?

If the fire is isolated to the attic area and the smoke is not impinging in a dangerous way on firefighters. It is also important that they make that size-up early, and that they clearly communicate that critical factor early. Therefore, everybody on the fireground knows that the focus is on putting the fire out, but has also now shifted to a salvage or saving-of-things focus. To do that properly, the second most critical fireground factor needs to be the consideration of construction features, and the building itself.

In other words, recognizing that when you have a vaulted ceiling, scissor truss, compartmentalized attic you can’t take a standard approach when going inside. One can’t pull the ceiling and hope to be successful in fighting that fire. Instead, you’ve got to find different ways of getting into those void spaces and different attack points to extinguish the fire without causing massive internal or interior damage to the home.

Therefore, one needs to look at options like penetrating nozzles, options like roof attacks, and gable-end attacks. Also, one needs to look at options that factor into keeping the lid inside intact while one puts water into the compartmentalized areas of the attic.

The other critical factor would be your resources, and how you use those resources. We try to really teach members to avoid non-specific assignments like “Come in and assist,” to a second company. Rather, it is best to communicate clear plans with clear communication directives to a second company such as “we have isolated attic fire; we’re going to attack this from the east gable end. We’re going to keep the lid intact…” or “second company, come in and bring a penetrating nozzle to the interior; we’ve got an isolated attic fire. We’re going to attempt to convert this fire.”

So I would say that three most critical factors would be the location of the fire and whether it is isolated. Second would be the building construction type and how that factors into the attack that you choose. If you have tile roofs and other things under that category, that can complicate the attack. Third would be the use of your resources, and the allocation of those resources.

How do operations vary based on whether it’s a new home or an older home?

The operations vary based on your ability to perform functions involving a vaulted ceiling, scissor truss, light-weight construction, or a tile roof home. From an operations stand point, if we go in there with a standard “I’m going to go in and attack this thing from underneath,” then you go to pull the ceiling and you end up having only 10% access to that attic because it is so compartmentalized. So you really can’t be successful without causing tremendous damage on the interior.

Therefore, you’re going to have to approach that vaulted ceiling, scissor truss home from gable ends or from multiple roof points. Maybe even from an aerial ladder or from an aerial platform ladder.

Second, critical point from an operations standpoint of construction is knowing how long you can work under an attic that’s involved. From a safety standpoint, once you’ve gotten an all clear on the home, the only real life safety issue we’re dealing with is our own firefighters. So understanding the more modern conventional framed 2-by-6 regular plywood sheeting roof; you could park a truck up on that thing and it’s going to withstand a much greater impact from the fire before collapse. With the tile roof vaulted ceiling homes, we’ve seen catastrophic collapse of those roofs due to the weight of the impact from the tile in a compromised light-weight truss.

Maybe one is a gusset plate. Wood versus nails. OSB versus plywood. In these structures, you see much early collapse and therefore compromise those working underneath it.

The other factor would be the ability to size-up a building, and what operationally would impact your ability to access gable ends. Do they have gable ends or do you need to create a false gable end to attack it? What percent of the attic space is reachable by one gable versus doing multiple gable attacks? Things of that nature.

Are there certain protocols for a particular buildings based upon the age of the structures?

One could attach a year to the building, and say that from the late 80s or 90s on you start to see much more light-weight truss constructions. And 70s or 80s homes are more conventionally framed. But more important than trying to attach a year to certain building is being able to teach firefighters how to size buildings up – how to do that quickly, rapidly, and having deliberate consideration of what you’re seeing from the home.

And so, knowing your first priorities, doing pre-plans, and driving areas to know where you have maybe balloon frame construction versus platform construction. Understanding the differences in most types absolutely plays into it, but I tend to teach more about building construction. I talk about the years and the type one through five constructions, but I focus more on size-up when you are on the scene and looking for signs. Such as signs of a vaulted ceiling, signs of a light-weight construction – all things that would factor into your decision about what your attack plan is going to be.

That really is the essence of the whole discussion about attic fires. It is important to have a plan that is specific to that structure and the level of fire that you see, and its exposure to the interior. Then we must communicate that plan clearly to everybody coming in.

 

About the Author

Deputy Chief Jeff Case serves as a Shift Commander on the Phoenix Fire Department. As a Shift Commander he helps administrate the department’s Command Training Center and the management of Fire, Medical and Special Operation responses. Chief Case helped design and run Mesa Community College’s (MCC) Virtual Incident Command Center. Faculty member MCC, and adjunct instructor with TEEX’s WMD/EMS response program. Bachelor’s degree, Fire Service Management and a Master’s degree in Education.

Bio and photo of Jeff Case are courtesy of Firehouse.com. To read more about Case’s presentations at Firehouse World, please click here.

In Jeopardy of Losing Payment for EMS Calls, Yuma Fire Department Leans on TargetSolutions

While Yuma Fire Department was completing the process of transitioning its training program to TargetSolutions, there was confusion about whether or not a paramedic had sufficient training hours. Having an employee work with an expired license would have prevented the department from billing, resulting in a huge financial loss. Fortunately, Yuma was able to run a report through TargetSolutions showing the training hours were current and the paramedic was still certified.

After learning one of his paramedics had potentially worked more than a month with an expired license, Michael Walton sat in the EMS Chief’s office doing simple arithmetic.

“You are talking about a 45-day period, probably 15 shifts, 10 calls each day — just do the math and you can see it was going to be a significant amount of money we were going to be out,” said Walton, who serves as the Yuma Fire Department’s battalion chief and found himself in a “scramble” after being contacted by a hospital coordinator responsible for monintoring the department’s EMS certifications.

“It looked like one of our paramedics was missing an ACLS course,” said Walton. “It was pretty embarrassing to think something like this had slipped through the cracks.”

Even worse, the recordkeeping error was potentially going to cost tens of thousands of dollars, because the department would not be allowed to bill for any transports the paramedic ran with the expired license. Making it even more stressful was the fact this all went down while the department was in the process of moving its training records to TargetSolutions, and not everything was believed to have made the switch. Some documents were still being logged in the city’s database, others through the department’s Electronic Patient Care Reporting software. The department had only recently signed on with TargetSolutions and was still working its way through the transition.

Still, Walton logged into the online fire department training management system hoping he would find the missing information. That hope was rewarded.

“I logged into TargetSolutions to see if the paramedic’s training was moved over. It was a big relief to see the training was there. The way we looked at it, we saved thousands of dollars and paid for TargetSolutions with that one incident.”

Michael Walton, Battalion Chief

Walton was grateful the department’s chief had backed the recommendation to move records to one centralized online system: TargetSolutions. “Thanks to the chief’s support, we were moving everything into one location and we were able to document the ACLS training happened,” Walton said.

With this in the rearview mirror, Walton is now starting to maximize TargetSolutions’ full array of capabilities. In addition to moving over training records and tracking EMS training, the department is finding innovative ways to utilize the system.

“We have put together a program in TargetSolutions that tracks all of those things we are doing in the community for public education,” said Walton. “We were able to build reports on grade-school ages, contacts, hours — that is a big part of our accreditation and we are now able to document what we are doing with TargetSolutions.”

Beyond that, the department is looking to TargetSolutions to help improve its ISO rating, Walton said.

“During our last ISO review, we got down to a 2 (rating), but my goal before I retire is a 1,” Walton said. “I think we are now going to be able to track training even better — so that is a big push for us.”

Walton praised TargetSolutions’ client services department for making implementation simple and providing excellent ongoing support, he said.

“When we first did the orientation, it was really impressive,” Walton said. “I tell guys, ‘if you have a problem, give them a call and they will get right back with you. The help support is outstanding.’ … TargetSolutions has definitely enhanced the way we operate.”

About TargetSolutions
TargetSolutions delivers cutting-edge software applications, engaging online training courses, and world-class customer service. The company was founded in 1999 and today there are more than 2,000 organizations across the country using TargetSolutions’ innovative technology to solve their training challenges. TargetSolutions is headquartered in San Diego, Calif. For more information, please call 1-800-840-8048 or check online at www.targetsolutions.com.

TargetSolutions to Preview Reporting Enhancements at FDIC

At FDIC International, conference attendees can stop by booth No. 13026 for more information on TargetSolutions’ upcoming enhancements to the Reports application.

SAN DIEGO – TargetSolutions, the leading provider of online training and recordkeeping tools for public safety agencies, will be providing a sneak peek of its soon-to-be-released Reports application during FDIC International.

If you are attending the annual firefighter training conference in April at the Indiana Convention Center and Lucas Oil Stadium, stop by booth No. 13026 to learn about TargetSolutions’ enhancements for reporting. TargetSolutions representatives will be on hand to provide information on the new tool, which is scheduled to be released in summer of 2015.

The updated Reports functionality will include innovative features for sharing and scheduling reports, which make it simple to “set it and forget it” with one-time setup, said TargetSolutions’ Product Manager Misty Pratt.

“Reporting is the most important facet of any LMS. A system is only as good as what you can pull out of it. This application will make reporting easier and better than it has ever been with TargetSolutions. The new Reports application will be completely mobile-friendly, it’s going to have a revamped interface, and platform managers will love the ability to set-up detailed, ongoing reports with ease.”

Misty Pratt, Product Manager

In addition to the all-new Reports application, TargetSolutions representatives will be showing attendees how the online firefighter training software simplifies the process for scheduling, delivering and tracking fire department training hours and other mandatory compliance tasks.

“While TargetSolutions features hundreds of hours of valuable NFPA training courses and EMS continuing education, it’s the powerful applications we’ve developed to streamline daily training, tracking and compliance for ISO training hours, EMS recertification, career development, licenses, inspections, and much more that have made us the industry’s leader,” said Jeff Oathout, who serves as TargetSolutions’ area director of sales.

“It’s exciting working with some of the most progressive agencies across the globe each day. Our team looks forward to meeting other forward-thinking departments at FDIC and this conference is a great opportunity to see the industrys latest technology, so please stop by our booth to discuss your department’s goals.  We’re happy to provide live demos, as well as one-on-one meetings.”

If you have any questions about TargetSolutions, please stop by booth No. 13026 at FDIC or call (800) 840-8048. 

 

About TargetSolutions
TargetSolutions delivers cutting-edge software applications, engaging online training courses, and world-class customer service. The company was founded in 1999 and today there are more than 2,000 organizations across the country using TargetSolutions’ innovative technology to solve their training challenges. TargetSolutions is headquartered in San Diego, Calif. For more information, please call 1-800-840-8048 or check online at www.targetsolutions.com.

 

Meet Strategic Risk Account Manager: Amy Albanese

Serving as a Strategic Risk Account Manager, Amy Albanese has worked for TargetSolutions since 2013.

In 2009, she graduated from Western Michigan University with a B.A. in Political Science and then went on to receive a Master’s in Public Administration from Penn State in 2012.

Amy’s husband Dan is a Naval Aviator stationed at Naval Air Station North Island in San Diego. Together they enjoy going out to eat and seeing movies. While Dan is serving our country, Amy enjoys spending time at home with her miniature schnauzer, Scruffy.

Some of Amy’s other hobbies include hiking the trails and the great outdoors. In addition, she enjoys capturing the beauty of the environment through photography. Also, something interesting that most people do not know about Amy is that she previously spent time as a student learning sustainable farming methods, such as plowing fields using oxen.

Here is a Q&A from a recent conversation with Amy.

What is one word you would use to describe yourself as a child? 
As a child, I could only be described as a “negotiator.” I was one of seven kids, so our household sometimes mimicked that of a war zone. If I needed something or had a special request, I would have to speak up and make my voice heard. I would have to become my own lobbyist – explaining why going to the mall would eventually make me better at cleaning my room. 

What are your top three life highlights?
I would have to say that three life highlights would be graduating with my Master’s degree, getting married, and adopting my miniature Schnauzer, Scruffy. 

If you were to tell one person “Thank You” for helping me become the person I am today, who would it be and what did they do?
I would tell my stepmom thank you. I actually tell her this all the time. She taught me poise, grace, and how to be professional all while growing up (not that all of it stuck). Her wisdom and words have truly helped shape who I am today and I will be forever grateful.  

If you ruled the world, what would you change on Day 1? 
I would change the Southern California traffic. I am not sure if this is something that can be changed on the first day of ruling the world, but I would pour my entire being into eliminating traffic jams and backups. That way I would not have to spend half of the day in the car. 

What has been the most memorable/fulfilling moment in your position at TargetSolutions?
I can’t say there has been just one memorable or fulfilling moment while working at TargetSolutions. There has been many. Any time I can meet clients face-to-face has been extremely fulfilling. I really love getting to know my clients and their needs so I can help them strategize on how to get the most out of TargetSolutions.