Technology with a Purpose

Archive for June, 2015

Get to Know Jenny Fergason, TargetSolutions’ Director of Client Services

This October, Jenny Fergason will reach her 10-year anniversary with TargetSolutions. After starting as an account manager and helping to implement thousands of clients, Jenny now oversees Client Services and handles the company’s largest metro accounts.

“It’s my responsibility to help metro departments really find the value in the platform because they have such great potential to maximize the benefits and cost savings,” Fergason said. “My job is to understand what the platform is capable of and act as an extension of the departments we serve to make sure they succeed.”

Fergason says there is great satisfaction in knowing her team’s efforts have helped the heroes who serve our communities as first responders. “That’s the best part of our job,” Fergason said. “It’s very rewarding to help clients who are depending on us for training.”

Here is a Q&A from a recent conversation with Jenny:

 

Going back a decade, what did you do before you worked here and where did you go to college?

Before TargetSolutions, I worked in retail and for a fertilizer company. I went to San Diego State University.

Are you married?

I’ve been married for five years to Craig Fergason (yes, like the talk show host; and yes, our names together are Jenny Craig).

Do you have any pets or children?

Both! One big, grey cat named Smokey and a beautiful 23-month-old daughter named Adelyn.

What do you like about where you live in San Diego?

My favorite part is the family-friendliness in La Mesa, where I live. There are lots of parks and places to take little ones, and it seems like everyone else has little ones so if mine has a meltdown, no one seems to notice.

You can only use three words – how would you describe yourself?

Harmonious, Loyal, Mama Bear. (Sorry Jenny that was four)

Who do you admire most and why?

My mom. She was a single-working mom who really showed me the value of hard work and dedication. She was, and continues to be my role model, even into retirement.

What are your favorite hobbies?

Drinking wine, cooking, having family beach days, reading, and going to sporting events.

What is your favorite movie and why?

Dirty Dancing – because no one puts Baby in a corner!

Comprehensive Recordkeeping Is Critical to Fire Department Training

Improve Fire Department's Training Records
This is the seventh tip from TargetSolutions’ special report, “Eight Great Tips for Training Your Crew,” a best practices guide. To view the entire report, please click here.
Simplify Department Training Records

Are your fire department’s training records accurate? Are you sweating an upcoming ISO review, or some other audit, because you don’t trust the data you have on file? Chances are you need to examine your data business practices to ensure the processes for collecting, logging and reporting information are effective.

To generate comprehensive reports, your process needs to be defined. If you want specific data, all participants in the collection and reporting of that data need to adhere to the same criteria, and all components need to be defined and coordinated.

It’s important to establish best practices for data collection. You will need to organize, plan and execute the work to ensure good, reliable data is consistently available.

The first step is to commit to gathering data properly. That commitment will lead to better reporting.

 

“With TargetSolutions we’re able to show auditors what we’re doing. I can pull a report on anything within the system and demonstrate its effectiveness and efficiency. This is a very cost-effective program to get our staff a great deal of training and also meet training needs.”

Nate Renzella, Fire Inspector with Hendersonville Fire Department (Tenn.)

 

Download Eight Great Tips

The Top 10 Myths About Online Training for Fire Departments

TargetSolutions conducted a survey a few years ago that determined 22 percent of respondents were not interested in implementing online training for their organization. A more recent survey has found 18 percent still feel the same.

Here are the top myths about online training and how TargetSolutions is working to disprove them:

 


Myth No. 1: Online Training Offers a Limited, Boring Selection.

The Truth: TargetSolutions has always been committed to providing the industry’s best online training catalog, which today offers more than 1,000 titles, covering Fire & NFPA-accredited material, EMS recertification, Law Enforcement training, OSHA & Compliance, Emergency Vehicle Operator Safety, and much more. TargetSolutions provides the ability to deliver customized content and is accepted in almost every state so organizations can comply with federal, state and local mandates. Courses feature dynamic interactions, high-quality videos, real-life scenarios, and quizzes to challenge and engage students.


Myth No. 2: Online Training Is Not Challenging.

The Truth: Every TargetSolutions course goes through a rigorous creation process. Content development experts spend weeks creating material to educate students. Each course features stimulating interactions and challenging tests to gauge a user’s comprehension. All courses meet necessary standards set by various regulatory agencies, ensuring users receive credit. TargetSolutions has more than 450 hours of fire department training, including 160 hours of EMS continuing education, and more than 240 Law Enforcement training courses accepted for credit in numerous states.


Myth No. 3: Online Training Is Too Expensive.

The Truth: TargetSolutions is an affordable investment proven to save significant time and money. The platform’s training material helps organizations reduce scheduling hassles and expenses tied to instructor-led training, including overtime, fuel and facility costs. TargetSolutions’ training courses have shown to lower workers compensation risks by changing unsafe behaviors and help keep units in service, lowering response times.


Myth No. 4: Online Training Is Not as Effective as Hands-On Training and Reduces Crew Interaction.

The Truth: It’s true, online training will never be a total replacement for instructor-led training. But it’s an effective supplement and convenient way to ensure compliance. In today’s challenging environment, time is critical and online training makes achieving mandatory training requirements more feasible. With TargetSolutions, trainers can “flip the classroom” and make courses pre-work. This way, when students attend live events, they already have a better understanding of the lesson. When used in conjunction with hands-on training, students have shown greater levels of retention, which is ultimately the most important factor to consider.

Download White Paper > Why Fire Departments Should Supplement Hands-on Training with Technology


Myth No. 5: Online Training Requires Students to Be Computer Literate.

The Truth: Some organizations may have a few individuals who are reluctant about training “on the cloud.” Some will always prefer old-fashioned methods. In cases like this, the brotherhood really comes into play. More technically advanced users can help their teammates, which will increase crew interaction. After any initial growing pains, organizations will eventually operate more efficiently completing training and recordkeeping online. Plus, TargetSolutions has a comprehensive and easy-to-search Help System, stacked with how-to videos, as well as a 24-hour toll-free assistance line. We’re here to help.

Download White Paper > Get the Facts about Online Training for the Fire Service


Myth No. 6: Online Software is Unreliable.

The Truth: Some software providers might be selling systems that are unreliable, but TargetSolutions is the exception. Our system regularly exceeds 99.9 percent uptime. We’ve invested in the very best technology equipment to ensure our database is sound and our customers are satisfied. Our backup datacenter has been strategically positioned to secure our production infrastructure. If a natural disaster strikes, our customers will not experience an outage. Unlike some competitors, there’s no hardware to install. If you have an internet connection, you can rest easily knowing you have 24/7 access to TargetSolutions, giving you a convenient and dependable method for completing training.


Myth No. 7: Users Will Complete Online Training Courses Too Quickly.

The Truth: In order to meet EMS continuing education accreditation standards, users are expected to spend at least 40 minutes on each course in most states. TargetSolutions has implemented timers that require users to meet necessary regulations. Each course features multiple interactions and at least 10 questions, helping necessitate the mandated period of time spent in each course. Administrators have the ability to adjust timer settings to meet their states exact standards.


Myth No. 8: Online Training Will Go Unused.

The Truth: TargetSolutions’ utilization statistics tell a different story. In fact, platform usage spikes to all-time levels nearly every single month. TargetSolutions averages more than 2,300 course completions per day, up double digits from previous years. Ultimately, every organization has control over how often training is completed. If site administrators assign online courses and make it a necessity for completing required training, users participate.

From Skeptic to Supporter: How Hendersonville Fire Department (Tenn.) Changed Its Mind about Online Training


Myth No. 9: Online Training Systems Are Difficult to Manage.

The Truth: TargetSolutions provides an easy-to-use and intuitive training management system that makes assigning and completing training simple and efficient. The

platform’s sleek design is simple to navigate for both administrators and users. Administrators will have little problem scheduling training, monitoring completions, storing files, generating reports and disseminating important communications. In addition, TargetSolutions features a powerful suite of reporting tools that make tracking training – like EMS recertification and ISO training hours – easier than ever before.


Myth No. 10: Online Training Requires Customer Service That We Can’t Rely On.

The Truth: At TargetSolutions, nothing is more important than our client’s satisfaction. Our friendly representatives are ready to assist and answer your questions. Dedicated account managers are here to help you through implementation and keep you updated on all of the platform’s enhancements. We’ve created a robust web-based Help System, including a Live Chat Feature. You can reach TargetSolutions 24 hours a day for technical support and we are always willing to provide platform training. Our customers are our top priority.

For questions about TargetSolutions’ online training management system, please contact us today (800) 840-8048!

TargetSolutions to Demonstrate Online Law Enforcement Training System at 2015 NSA Annual Conference

Every summer the conference schedule heats up. This June is no different as TargetSolutions is planning to attend nearly 20 different conferences, including the National Sherrifs’ Association Annual Conference June 26-July 1 in Baltimore.

NSA attendees will have an opportunity to meet with TargetSolutions’ Regional Sales Manager Lonny Wilder during exhibit hours to learn more about the industry’s leading online law enforcement training management system.

“TargetSolutions provides Law Enforcement agencies with an effective, affordable solution for achieving quality online training that educates employees and improves performance,” said Wilder.

“TargetSolutions’ features more than 240 hours of engaging online training courses, as well as powerful software applications for delivering and recording training, while supporting agency operations, support services and risk reduction.

“I’m looking forward to meeting with attendees and showing them how TargetSolutions can help their agency manage training and compliance.”

TargetSolutions will be at booth No. 633 during exhibit hours on June 29 (9 a.m. to 3 p.m.) and June 30 (9 a.m. to 3 p.m.). For more information, please contact us today at (800) 840-8048.

 

Henrico County Fire Improves Recordkeeping with Firefighter Training System

Located in Central Virginia, Henrico County Fire covers approximately 244-square miles and consists of 20 stations with more than 500 highly trained and certified personnel. Training has always been an important part of the department’s culture, but tracking results was the challenge.

“In the past, we had a homegrown system where each person would do the normal day sheet to record activities, but it wasn’t very in depth and it missed a lot of specific information about what the training entailed,” said Captain Danny Rosenbaum.

That all changed in July of 2014 when it turned to TargetSolutions.

In an effort to maintain accurate training records, Henrico made the move and immediately saw improvements in its accuracy of training records, Rosenbaum said. The department utilizes a self-assessment process in which high standards are met to obtain an International Fire Accreditation every five years. With TargetSolutions, Henrico has been able to maintain up-to-date training records simply and efficiently.

“TargetSolutions has helped us go beyond just tracking of training. Delivering training items and keeping track of it; things like community risk reduction, smoke detectors, and surveys can all be contained in one training category.”

Captain Danny Rosenbaum, Henrico County Fire (Va.)

The department also uses TargetSolutions to track ISO compliance, by delivering prepackaged ISO training credentials, which allow Henrico to keep track of total training hours and generate accurate reports.

“We are able to track and view all training totals, and we have 142,720 total hours, with much in Officer Training, and so forth, which means a lot,” Rosenbaum said.

The department is also using TargetSolutions for EMT and ALS provider hours and to track ride-alongs with experienced paramedics. It’s all done electronically, which has simplified the process.

Not only has TargetSolutions helped Henrico simplify training management, but implementing the online technology was easier than expected, Rosenbaum said.

“There were online templates to fill out new users, credentials, and all of that, and then we turned that information in to the TargetSolutions representative,” said Rosenbaum. “We were up and running within first week with everyone taking classes. From there it took a month before getting to a point we could record completions. In August we started doing tracking of daily activities, and in September, we saw numbers growing.”

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 thousands of organizations across the country use TargetSolutions’ innovative technology to solve their training challenges. For more information, please call 1 (800) 840-8048.

CFFJAC’s Terrorism Consequence Management Courses Now Available

Fire departments in California can access CFFJAC’s cutting-edge training courses through TargetSolutions’ online fire department training system.

TargetSolutions is now offering the California Fire Fighter Joint Apprenticeship Committee’s (CFFJAC) Terrorism Consequence Management (TCM) coursework through its online fire department training system.

The Terrorism Consequence Management courses train members on how to deal with potential acts of terrorism in their communities. Seven courses have been added to TargetSolutions’ online fire training catalog for fire departments in California.

Courses include:

  • Emerging Threats
  • Chemical Considerations
  • Improvised Explosive and Incendiary Devices
  • Emergency and Mass Decontamination
  • FRO Refresher for CBRNE Incidents
  • Radiological-Nuclear Incidents
  • Interagency Cooperation and Response

TCM courses are available free of charge to all members of the California fire service.

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

 

 

Tips for Making the Right Selection When Hiring a Firefighter

firefighter hiring process

Deputy Chief Jeff CaseWhen hiring a new firefighter, it is important for fire department leaders to have a set of standards and criteria. After all, every candidate hired is a direct reflection on the department. Deputy Chief of Phoenix Fire Department Jeff Case recently sat down with TargetSolutions to discuss the hiring process and how an agency can develop the future of firefighters.

 

 

What tips would you provide fire department leaders on how to prepare their organization for success when it comes to hiring new members?

First of all, we talk a lot about making sure who we hire represents what a firefighter really is today. Making sure we don’t simply glamorize the position, and market the fire aspect of it.

Again, that is a critical and absolutely necessary component of what you hire. Someone that can go into a burning building, rip through things, and has that aggressiveness about them or toughness about them, means they can do the most difficult part of what we do, which is fight fire. But we must also realize that a person has to have components of compassion, nurse characteristics, counselor characteristics, humanitarian characteristics, have construction knowledge, etc.

So it is the total package we really need for a firefighter to be successful, and also to be happy. I mean if you hire somebody based on the premise they are going to come to work and three times a day they are going to fight intense fires, they are going to be very unhappy in this profession because that is not a typical day.

It is a challenge to find the right mix of personalities and not just look for that single toughness component, but recognize it is a total package.

 

What is something fire department leaders might not consider when making a hire?

Recognizing you need to be very careful about who you hire because you are probably not going to change them. You can train them, you can teach them, you can talk about your philosophies, but the general core essence of who a person is when you hire them at age 20 to 27 is already established. Their core personality, their core behaviors, and their core values are set by that point. And so, something we talk about is recognizing people’s strengths, and recognizing those are the things that are going to determine your ability to have them be successful and happy in their career.

We spend a lot of time talking about how to develop people’s career toward those strengths because we do need all types of personalities on our fire trucks.

Also, making sure that they are going to be happy because if you sell the job to people based upon this hero mentality, and that is what they expect to do every day – these extreme, dangerous, and hard things – they are going to be disappointed. So it is great they have the ability to respond well when that is the call and that is what they need to do, but they also need to be happy, content, and enjoy all the other 90 percent of what we do most of the time.Check Out More Blogs

 

In your experience, are there any secrets or keys to finding the right employees? What do you look for that others should consider?

I do not know that there is any magic pill or series of things, but I think it is important to create a process. A process that allows you to get to know people better than a 20-minute interview where we ask three to four questions in which they are absolutely scripted coming in – if they are at all prepared as a candidate through classes and mock interviews and everything else. You do not want to be fooled by some of these pre-planned answers and set questions, and all of a sudden assume you know that person.

So I think relationships with the community colleges, mentorship programs, cadet programs, or volunteer opportunities where you get to see people in real settings are important. Inviting prospects into your fire stations, encouraging ride-alongs, and talking to people that interact with these people. Because it is in that element where both their positive and/or negative ones will be seen. So you have to create those opportunities.

We have firefighter one-on-two academies, we work with the community colleges, and we stay in close communication with them. The ongoing challenge you are going to have is looking out for people that we are associated with – friends and family. Not that it is a bad thing, but we have to make sure that our members do not encourage or falsely represent people as being good potential firefighters when they are really just a friend and they do not have the qualities, attributes, or characteristics you are looking for. We need to protect against that and make sure our members know who they bring in either strengthens or weakens the organization one person at a time.

So it is important to make sure all of those elements are as pure as possible. No process will ever be perfect. However, with families where a family member meets those criteria, then it should absolutely be encouraged. But do not bring someone in just because they are family or friends that do not meet the criteria you are looking for.

 

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.

 

TargetSolutions Adds 36 New EMS Continuing Education Courses to Its CECBEMS Training Catalog

SAN DIEGO – TargetSolutions, a leader in online continuing education for emergency responders, is excited to announce 36 new EMS courses have been approved for credit by the Continuing Education Coordinating Board for Emergency Medical Services (CECBEMS).

TargetSolutions’ features 159 hours of EMS continuing education that has been approved by the Continuing Education Coordinating Board for Emergency Medical Services (CECBEMS).

The courses have been added to TargetSolutions’ online training catalog for CECBEMS, which now features 159 hours of approved continuing education for all levels of EMS personnel.

In the past, only a portion of TargetSolutions’ EMS online continuing education was approved for CECBEMS credit. Now, every EMS training course meets CECBEMS requirements, giving providers more access to TargetSolutions’ course content nationwide.

“We’re excited about these news courses being available because they increase the quantity of quality training we are able to provide,” said TargetSolutions Executive VP Thom Woodward.

“With this latest release of new CECBEMS courses, providers have more access to our extensive EMS content. These providers can now better fulfill continuing education requirements through our platform while expanding their knowledge for responding to medical emergencies.”

TargetSolutions, which became a CECBEMS-accredited organization in March of 2014, understands how valuable CECBEMS training is to EMS agencies across the country. The updated catalog features popular titles, including CECBEMS Abdominal Trauma Advanced, CECBEMS Geriatric Emergencies Basic, and CECBEMS Special Challenges in Patient Assessment.

All of the titles have been added to TargetSolutions’ certified credentials, which enable agencies to document EMS continuing education with the online system’s powerful recordkeeping application.

Update: Please note as of July 1, 2016, CECBEMS changed its name to the Commission on Accreditation for Pre-Hospital Continuing Education (CAPCE). To view TargetSolutions’ CAPCE course catalog, 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 thousands of organizations across the country use TargetSolutions’ innovative technology to solve their training challenges. TargetSolutions is headquartered in San Diego, Calif. For more information, please call 1-800-840-8048.

Get to Know Your Account Manager: Ann Gruetzmacher

Ann Gruetzmacher, a native of Houston, attended college in her home state at Texas A&M University. Whoop! She graduated with a specialization in human resource management and worked in the oil and gas industry before joining TargetSolutions.

Today, she serves as account manager for clients in Alabama, Florida, Georgia, Kentucky, Mississippi, North Carolina, South Carolina, Tennessee, Virginia and West Virginia.

“Working at TargetSolutions is important to me because I am free to be ‘me’,” she said. “There are all different types of people at this company and we are all encouraged to grow and develop our various strengths. I love that I am accepted here and that my strengths are viewed as an asset to the team.”

Ann is married to a Navy helicopter pilot who is proud to be serving our country! It’s been quite an adventure living the Navy life and she’s looking forward to many more years of it. She loves quality time with family and friends and enjoys filling up her calendar with social commitments. Ann also loves traveling, reading, the fall, her Wheaten Terrier Bess, Christmas, and college football! Go Aggies!

Here is a Q&A from a recent conversation with Ann:

You can only use three words – how would you describe yourself?

Passionate. Vivacious. Genuine.

Where do you most want to travel, but have never been?

Right now, it would be Bali, Indonesia. It’s been on my list for years. It’s a beautiful place with kind people and a unique culture. Not excluding the wonderful spas and extremely affordable price! It would be the perfect balance of relaxation, filled with exploration and adventure!

What is the last movie you went to and what did you think?

Aloha and I was disappointed. I was really excited about the cast (Bradley Cooper and Emma Stone), but I found the movie to be slightly boring and super random.  

Who would you want to play you in a movie of your life and why?

Reese Witherspoon or Blake Lively! But probably Reese Witherspoon. She has been one of my favorite actresses for the last 17 years. She’s fun, bubbly, charming, sassy, outspoken, and a real southern woman! I feel like she could do an awesome job as an actress portraying me and staying true to who I am. The only thing she doesn’t have going for her is the fact that she’s 5-foot-2 and I’m 5-foot-11!

What is one of your guilty pleasures?

The Real Housewives television series on Bravo. I watch all of them (except for Melbourne), and love it. I actually feel no guilt about it, other than the fact that I could be doing something more useful and productive with my time. But sometimes, it’s necessary to indulge a little!

What do you enjoy most about your job?

Building great relationships with my clients! I am a very relational person; building friendships, relationships, and finding connections with people. So making that connection and building that relationship with a client keeps me going!

Meet Strategic Risk Account Manager Jen Jones

Jen Jones took an interesting path to TargetSolutions. After studying journalism and public relations at Cal Poly, San Luis Obispo, she went on to work several different career tracks, including retail, leadership and organizational development, and now account management for TargetSolutions’ Strategic Risk Management Business Unit.

This August, Jen will mark her two-year anniversary at TargetSolutions. But an even bigger celebration will come in July when she enjoys her six-year anniversary with husband Adam.

Together, the two enjoy home improvement and decorating. They have a 1950s-style ranch house in Poway, Calif. During the holidays, they go all out, decorating as if they were auditioning the home to be used as the Griswolds in the next Christmas Vacation movie, Jen says.

Adam and Jen have two dogs. Kyra, an 8-year-old Husky, and Roxy, a 10-year-old Kelpy mix.

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

What do you enjoy most about your job?

My job is the perfect blend of two things I am truly passionate about, learning and customer service. It is my goal to continually help others find ways to streamline their job productivity and achieve their performance targets, leading to higher levels of engagement and satisfaction both in and out of work. I enjoy forming a strong bond with my customers, not just from a business perspective but also on a personal level. I love hearing about their families, vacations, favorite coffee spots and so much more. It is these relationships and my ability to provide continuous learning opportunities that make coming to work each day a pleasure.

You can only use three words – how would you describe yourself?  

Persistent. Realistic. Fun-loving.

Who do you admire most and why?

My husband, Adam, is one of the most amazing people I have ever had the pleasure of knowing. He has such a great attitude toward life and how to live it. He lives in the present, and has faith everything eventually works out in the end. As a Kindergarten teacher he is eternally patient, kind, and funny. He brings joy, not only to my life, but to all those he touches.

What is your favorite movie and why?

It is cruel to make me choose just one, so I will narrow it down to a few.  First, Gone with the Wind, which is also my favorite book. I love historical novels, and Gone with the Wind was adapted well for the screen. Couple that with fantastic casting, cutting-edge (for its time) color cinematography, and a realistic ending, how could it not be in my top faves. Second, I LOVE the original Star Wars Trilogy. There isn’t enough space to list the reasons why I am such a fan. Third, anything by John Hughes – anything.

If you had total control over the universe, what would you change on Day 1?  

While I do have control issues, I do not have any desire to control the universe.  I’ll leave that to a higher power.