Technology with a Purpose

Archive for July, 2016

How Your Regional Training Group Can Share Resources: Recorded Webinar

cb-enterprise-webinar-download-ctaTargetSolutions hosted a special webinar on Wednesday, July 27 to demo the enhanced Enterprise solution for the fire service.

Director of Sales Jeff Oathout delivered the presentation, which outlined the value of the powerful application for regional training groups, as well as its recently upgraded functionality.

“Enterprise provides the ability to connect agencies and departments within a city or county to one another to foster a collaborative environment while maintaining autonomy at the department level,” Oathout said during the overview.

“Enterprise is a potential solution that can help overcome some of the challenges (agencies) face. Specifically, (with Enterprise) you have the ability to grow training resources exponentially without adding payroll and headcount.”

Oathout went on to explain how mutual aid partners who merge under an Enterprise site can collaborate, share training resources, and leverage the strengths of the entire group to improve and standardize training for everyone.

During the webinar, attendees saw how the Activities Builder helps connected agencies streamline training management, as well as how several applications – including the File Center, Events, and Forums – are catered to work for multiple agencies inside an Enterprise site.

Here are some of the key benefits of TargetSolutions’ Enterprise solution that were discussed during the webinar:

  • Enterprise provides agencies with the ability to create custom content through the Activities Builder (i.e. continuing education, confined space, HazMat, etc.) and then share the activities with multiple organizations.
  • Whether it’s a video, policy, SOG, presentation, or anything else, other agencies inside the Enterprise site can access shared content, deliver it to their personnel, and track results.
  • The tool enables agencies inside an Enterprise site to create practical training events and then invite members from other connected groups to attend.

If you missed the webinar, but would like to watch a recorded version, please click here. And if you have any questions or would like to schedule a one-on-one demonstration, please contact us today at (800) 840-8046.

Why Effective Public Relations Is Important for the Fire Service in the 21st Century

Fire Service Public Relations

Fire departments need to be more proactive communicating with the public in order to connect with the community, says author and speaker Daniel Byrne of the Burton Fire District (S.C.).

When it comes to humility, fire service members usually lead the pack. You’re not going to find Joe Firefighter cruising around town boasting about his job to every Tom, Dick and Harry. In fact, it’s quite the opposite.

Daniel Byrne, who serves as Community Support Officer for the Burton Fire District in South Carolina, condensed a firefighter’s typical day down to a simple routine: come to work, do your job, go home.

Ask Byrne to add some flare to describe the line of duty and the result is almost glamorous: Respond to calls, fight fires, then go home.

But Byrne says that type of mindset needs to change. As an outspoken proponent of encouraging firefighters to be more enthusiastic about informing their community and neighbors about their occupations, Byrne urges enhanced public relations with those same communities and local media to spread the word and tell the firefighter story.

“Times have changed and so much focus is now placed on economic efficiency and transparency,” said Byrne, who has had numerous articles about effective public relations strategies published in Firehouse magazine and online at Firehouse.com.

“It’s all about ‘what are you doing for me today? What services are you providing for me today to warrant tax dollars?’ If they don’t truly know what we do in-between fires, what challenges we face, and what our needs are to meet those challenges – along with the consequences for not having those resources – how can they support us?”

The public is simply uninformed because no one in the fire service is informing them, Byrne believes.

“People in your community can tell you reams of information on the Kardashians and the latest story on the bathroom wars, but can’t tell you what the leading cause of fire in their community is or how many fires their department responds to,” said Byrne.

“People are asking why we pay firefighters to sleep. Managers and government officials are asking. Now the public is asking. The public want answers to these questions that we never had to provide.”

Public Relations Fire Service

Byrne cites the problem coming down to fire departments assuming what the public wants, but never actually asking. In reality, departments need to be more proactive in order to close the disconnect between themselves and the community, he said. This can include teaching classes, writing articles about the firehouse, providing guest speakers for schools and other social groups, and generally do everything possible to engage the public. The fire service’s perceived value can no longer be taken for granted.

Breaking out of the traditional persona of staying quiet is a role the fire service can’t afford to play anymore. For example, for many people sprinklers aren’t seen as a necessity because not enough speakers going out into the community to explain the benefits.

“Going out into the community and doing blood pressure checks and talking about fire extinguishers and smoke detectors is just as effective, if not more so, than any large scale fire program,” Byrne said.

Daniel ByrneUltimately, as Byrne states, prevention is a major part of fire protection and taking the proper steps to communicate this to the public and ensure safety can save lives and keep the damage to a minimum.

About the Author

Daniel Byrne is an Engineer/Paramedic and Community Support Officer for the Burton Fire District in Beaufort County, S.C. He is also an Assistant Chief of Training for the Georgia Air National Guard 165th Fire Department. Byrne is a third generation firefighter and holds both an associate and bachelor’s degree in Fire Science, and a Fire Officer and Fire Instructor III certification.

 

Scenario-Based Active Shooter Training Course Tests Firefighters’ Decision Making Skills

cb-alphaact-fire-active-shooter

This training is based on a real-life event in Phoenix in which first responders encountered a horrific incident with an active shooter at a burning house.

What steps do firefighters take when they are simultaneously faced with an active shooter and a raging house fire? That is what this month’s featured AlphaACT® FIRE training course explores.

alphaact-register-webinarAlphaACT® FIRE’s scenario-based training course, based on the Lowell Street Incident, is available at an additional cost on the TargetSolutions platform. The training addresses a medical call in which law enforcement officers and firefighters worked together to ensure everyone’s safety.

Check out this video to learn more about what the first responders faced while addressing this highly volatile situation.

In this training scenario, students will practice and improve their skills with the following:

  • Sizing up an event to gain situational awareness
  • Recognizing similar events to prime your understanding of what is going on
  • Leveraging those similar events to gain insights into good strategy and tactics for this scenario
  • Developing a strategy and tactics for the scenario event

This course works to increase firefighters’ focus for active shooter situations, arson, information management and life hazards.

For more information on this course, please click here. And if you have questions about pricing, please contact us today at (800) 840-8046.

When It Comes to Tracking Training for the NFPA 1401 Standard, Hanover Is ‘Light Years Ahead’ with TargetSolutions

Hanover Fire & EMS in Virginia can prove its compliance with NFPA 1401 using TargetSolutions’ online training management system. Hanover is also maximizing TargetSolutions for documenting EMS continuing education.

Not every fire department incorporates the NFPA’s 1401 standard into its training program. Many agencies, in fact, might not understand or even know about the NFPA’s recommended practice for documenting fire service training records.

cb-hanover-success-storyHanover Fire & EMS in Richmond, Va. is not one of those departments.

Division Chief Eddie Buchanan believes ignorance to the 1401 is a risky proposition. Not recording training to the NFPA’s benchmark can have devastating consequences. As a member of the NFPA’s Technical Committee on Fire Service Training, Buchanan recognizes why it’s critically important to track training information.

“It’s all good until somebody gets hurt,” said Buchanan. “If there is ever a significant injury or death, they are going to look at every record. PPE training records, SCBA records … you want to make sure you have a good baseline of these records because they all have the appropriate minimal qualifications.

“The old adage is if it’s not documented, it didn’t happen. If there is no documentation, there is no way to prove the training took place. That’s why we pay attention to it.”

Buchanan says the 1401 sets the foundation for what a fire department’s training records should look like. But the 1401 does not say what the training should be. For that, Hanover uses the International Society for Fire Service Instructors Tools on firefighter training. And to track it all, the agency relies on TargetSolutions, the industry’s leading online training management system.

When Hanover first signed on with TargetSolutions in September of 2015, it was to manage its officers’ development. It didn’t take long for Buchanan to realize this incredibly powerful technology could simplify everything for the larger-sized agency with approximately 160 career members, 370 volunteer responders and 100 auxiliary members.

“What you’re able to do with TargetSolutions for documenting training is light years ahead of what’s needed for the minimum for (NFPA) 1401.”

Eddie Buchanan, Division Chief, Hanover Fire & EMS

“With TargetSolutions we’re able to capture all of the training that we’re doing at the user level,” Buchanan said. “Just last week we started building (digital) assignments for tracking (NFPA) 1410 evolutions. We’re also doing ISO requirements for company drills. With all of these members, it was difficult to keep it all straight before TargetSolutions.”

By utilizing TargetSolutions’ ground-breaking records management system, including the Activities Builder and the Manage Credentials applications, Hanover is able to efficiently and effectively track records. Whether it’s the volunteer personnel’s PPE records, the ongoing 1410 drills, or mandatory ISO training hours, it’s all possible with TargetSolutions.

In addition to the recordkeeping capabilities, Buchanan said he is impressed by the online training content inside TargetSolutions, which includes more than 250 hours of Fire and EMS continuing education. The Commonwealth of Virginia requires that state-approved courses be accredited by Continuing Education Coordinating Board for Emergency Medical Services (CECBEMS) and TargetSolutions is organizationally accredited by CECBEMS.

“Having that content available right out of the gate and the integration with the state’s EMS agency is nice,” Buchanan said. “You can pretty darn near recertify through the TargetSolutions system.”

But best of all, Buchanan can sleep soundly knowing Hanover’s training records are complete and the department is in compliance with the NFPA’s 1401 standard.

For more information on how TargetSolutions can help your department track training, please contact us today at (800) 840-8046.

TargetSolutions’ Top 5 Mandatory Training Courses for California

TargetSolutions offers valuable online courses and applications for mandatory training requirements in California.

TargetSolutions features more than 1,000 online training courses and powerful applications for tracking training. As part of that offering, TargetSolutions maintains the industry’s top resources for achieving training compliance with California’s state laws.

Here are TargetSolutions’ top five training resources for California:

  • Sexual Harassment (AB 1825) Watch Video >
  • Mandated Reporting (AB 1432) Watch Video >
  • CA Local Agency Ethics (AB 1234)
  • Pesticides (CA Senate Bill 1404) Watch Video >
  • Cal/OSHA Log 300

“TargetSolutions has the type of engaging online training courses public agencies in California need to achieve compliance,” said Client Services Manager Jen Jones. “The great part is that personnel required to complete training can access TargetSolutions at any time. The platform is online 24/7, which makes it more efficient and cost effective to comply with training requirements.”

Whether it’s an individual course, a collection of industry-specific courses, or pre-built custom activities, TargetSolutions has the necessary training to meet the needs of California’s cities, counties, school districts, water and wastewater agencies, public safety departments and other government agencies.

For more information on TargetSolutions’ training for public entities in California, please contact us today at (800) 840-8048.

TargetSolutions Enhances Innovative Enterprise Functionality for Firefighter Training Groups

If you’re interested in learning how your training group can work more cohesively with the Enterprise solution, click here to download a recorded webinar presentation.

TargetSolutions has implemented significant enhancements to its Enterprise solution. These enhancements will improve the platform’s functionality for sharing training resources between agencies inside regional training groups.

The Enterprise solution enables mutual aid partners to streamline and synchronize training activities, centralize and standardize training resources, and boost overall performance.

“We’re excited about the enhancements we’ve made to Enterprise because of how this upgraded functionality can help agencies centralize training resources and collaborate more effectively,” said TargetSolutions’ Product Manager Misty Pratt. “Fire departments who work together will find value in this solution.”

Enterprise has new features and functionality for the following:

  • Sharing custom training activities
  • Tracking completed hands-on training sessions
  • Scheduling group events
  • Moving files from the top of an Enterprise site to an individual agency’s site

Departments can still enjoy the autonomy of their own TargetSolutions’ site but capitalize on the ability to access training resources shared by other agencies inside their group.

“Enterprise enables agencies to share and centralize training resources and standardize training across a region. It can save agencies time and money and improve their performance.”

Misty Pratt, Product Manager

 

This solution is currently helping dozens of regional training groups operate more efficiently, Pratt said. In San Diego’s North County, the North Zone Training Group consists of 15 agencies that have joined together to maximize the system and have experienced tremendous results.

“In North San Diego County, much like across the nation, most of the smaller- to medium-sized fire departments, have to work with our neighbors,” said Deputy Chief Rick Vogt of the Escondido Fire Department (Calif.), which is part of the North Zone. “We are not big enough to run incidents, large incidents on our own; so if we’re going to be working together on the emergency scene, we darn well better be training together. What TargetSolutions does is it allows us to train much more effectively and much more cost-efficiently.”

If you are interested in downloading a recorded version of the webinar on the Enterprise solution, please click here to register. For more information, contact us at (800) 840-8046.

Steve Malone of the Manhattan Fire Protection District in Illinois Named the 2016 Training Officer of the Year

SAN DIEGO – TargetSolutions, the leading provider of computer-based training management applications for public safety agencies, and the International Association of Fire Chief’s (IAFC) Volunteer & Combination Officers Section (VCOS) are excited to announce Deputy Chief Steve Malone of the Manhattan Fire Protection District (Ill.) as the 2016 Training Officer Recognition Award winner.

Malone, 32, is scheduled to accept the award in August at Fire-Rescue International in San Antonio during a special ceremony for the IAFC’s VCOS members. This is the third year in a row TargetSolutions and the VCOS teamed up to present the award, which is designated each year for an individual who goes above and beyond to demonstrate innovation in firefighter training.

“This is a huge honor,” said Malone, who was instrumental in the implementation and standardization of training programs for the Mutual Aid Box Alarm System Division 19 (MABAS 19) in Illinois. “To see what determination and hard work can lead to is amazing. Without the support of my department, Chief and MABAS Division this would have been 10 times harder.”

“I wasn’t looking for recognition, but to know what you’re doing is effecting positive change, not only in Manhattan, but across MABAS Division 19 and Illinois, is huge.”

Steve Malone, Deputy Chief, Manhattan Fire Protection District (Ill.)

David Piper of Orland Fire Protection District is part of the MABAS Division 19 and he recognized the exceptional contribution put forth by his colleague Malone.

“Deputy Chief Steve Malone exemplifies the position of training officer,” Piper wrote when nominating Malone. “Steve’s drive to ensure that all members of his organization as well as the members of surrounding communities are trained to the highest level are unprecedented. Steve has been a driving force to develop a training program that meets local, state and national requirements for his department.”

The program Malone has installed, utilizing TargetSolutions’ online training management system, has been shared with surrounding departments and implemented across the MABAS Division 19. The regimen consists of lesson plans, job performance requirements, skill sheets, presentations and videos all delivered over a three-year period for all firefighter, engineer and officer positions within the area.

“The program has spread to include departments throughout the state of Illinois,” Piper said. “The program has been adopted by many departments because it organizes training for organizations to ensure that their training program covers all the necessary components.”

MABAS Division 19, which is made of 12 departments, is benefitting from Malone’s efforts. But Malone credits Piper for his help in assisting with the creation of the program that is scheduled, delivered and tracked with TargetSolutions.

“We had a vision of developing a training program vs. just going out and doing training,” said Malone. “Training officers need to look at the direction they want to go and develop a true training program that is achievable. What we’re doing in our division is great because we’re standardizing things. To see the end result is rewarding and seeing how well everyone is doing is a testament to how the training program is going.”

As the winner of the award, Malone will receive a trip to San Antonio for FRI, which is scheduled Aug. 17-20, including round-trip airfare and hotel accommodations, as well as a plaque commemorating the award.

Capt. Chip Everett of Oshtemo Township Fire Department (Mich.) and Asst. Chief Brad Pinsky of Manlius Fire Department (N.Y.) won the prestigious award in 2014 and ’15, respectively.

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 4,000 organizations across the country using TargetSolutions’ innovative technology to solve their training challenges. For more information on TargetSolutions, check online at www.targetsolutions.com.

About IAFC’s VCOS
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/.