Technology with a Purpose

Archive for November, 2017

The Top 5 Questions Asked During the Purchasing Process for Cities and Municipalities

eLearning for local governments has never been easier with TargetSolutions. Here is a list of the top 5 questions asked during the purchasing process. 

Thousands of public entities across the country rely on TargetSolutions to ensure their employees are prepared to perform in their work environment safely and effectively.

If you are considering TargetSolutions for your agency, we’ve got answers to your organization’s most frequently asked questions:

How Will TargetSolutions Fit into Our Budget?

TargetSolutions does not believe one size fits all when it comes to training and understands the challenge to deliver cost-effective training for thousands of employees. Using TargetSolutions, you can develop a plan that accommodates your agency’s size and budget without sacrificing quality of training. TargetSolutions offers more than 1,000 online courses for public entities and saves organizations time and money with training available 24/7. Compare how much you can save with TargetSolutions vs. traditional training methods with the ROI Calculator.

Can TargetSolutions Be Used as an LMS?

TargetSolutions is a complete Learning Management System (LMS). TargetSolutions’ online training and records management system allows agencies to deliver, track and report all types of training from a single platform. This all-in-one solution features an extensive course library to ensure the right people fulfill standards for OSHA, HR, driver safety and more. In addition to delivering content, TargetSolutions streamlines communication and centralizes employee training data with a revolutionary recordkeeping application. We are in an era where eLearning for local governments has never been more efficient.

Can TargetSolutions Track License and Certification Expiration Dates?elearning for local governments

With TargetSolutions, you’ll never have to second-guess employees’ qualifications to perform essential tasks. TargetSolutions has the capabilities to track all forms of training to help you manage compliance in just a few clicks. In the TargetSolutions platform, you can build credential packages with custom and standardized content that satisfies state and federal requirements. Managing expirations is also simple with automated reminders for individuals to complete credential training before their licenses expire. It also allows you to oversee all of your employees’ progress by generating specific, intuitive reports.

Does TargetSolutions Support Third-Party Content?

In addition to TargetSolutions’ course catalog of safety and compliance training, you can use TargetSolutions to deliver your own policies, create custom content and access employee data from HRIS. To improve communication across the agency, you can attach policies and additional documents to courses and activities for users to read. Compatible file types include .doc, ppt., pdf, .mov, .mp4, SCORM and more! Platform managers have the options to assign custom-built activities or upload SCORM files for employees to access as a TargetSolutions course.

What Is TargetSolutions’ Implementation Process?

TargetSolutions operates as a Software as a Service (SaaS). From day one, you will have a TargetSolutions account manager to help with anything your agency needs to train effectively – whether it be your platform setup, the implementation of courses and custom activities, or support for any questions you may have. Once your agency’s site is ready, all employees need to start training is a web-enabled device that meets TargetSolutions’ system requirements. There is no software installation required!

For more questions about eLearning for local governments or TargetSolutions’ online training catalog for cities & municipalities, contact us today (800) 840-8048!

 

Protect Your Network and Private Data with TargetSolutions’ Computer Security Awareness Training Course

TargetSolutions’ Computer Security Awareness training course is an hour-long lesson that focuses on the fundamentals of cyber security.

A recent study found that every individual record that is compromised or stolen as part of a data breach costs an organization an average of $158. In the event of a breach of more than 10,000 records, the total costs can swell to hundreds of thousands and even millions of dollars. Even with strict protocols in place, computer security awareness is something that all employees need to be aware of. With an endless supply of viruses, worms, malware, and hackers looking to illegally gain access to sensitive information, it should always be a top priority to ensure that your data is safe and secure.

TargetSolutions’ Computer Security Awareness online training course covers the essentials of cyber security and offers tips to avoid intrusive data breaches and damaging phishing attacks. Consisting of 10 learning modules followed by a 10-question exam, this course offers a solid overview of cyber security to users of all skill levels.

“Computer security should be everyone’s responsibility. One bad move can potentially cripple an entire network, so it’s important that your entire organization is on the same page when it comes to keeping your data and personal information secure.”

Bryan Fitzgerald, Content Manager, TargetSolutions

Topics of this course include:

  • Defining computer security
  • Explaining why it is essential to have knowledge of and practice computer security both at home and in the workplace
  • List and define the different types of security threats computer usage presents
  • Define and differentiate between the various types of malware
  • Identify and implement basic protective strategies one uses to practice computer security

TargetSolutions also offers a premium selection of IT & Security training courses designed to help IT personnel operate their organization’s front- and back-end technology at an optimum level. This dynamic, video-based training provides results-driven courses as well as skills prescribed by certification authorities, including Microsoft, Cisco, CompTIA and others.

For more information on Computer Security Awareness or of our premium line of training courses, please contact TargetSolutions today at (800) 840-8048.

PTSD in the Fire Service: Escaping a Personal War Zone

fire service ptsd

For generation after generation, fire service PTSD has been an unspoken and largely undiagnosed condition. However, understanding the circumstances that trigger fire service PTSD can lead to treatment, improved morale, and even save lives.

You don’t always get to choose your battles; sometimes they choose you. When that first call comes in, you don’t know what will be waiting on the other end; a burning building, a natural disaster, or an act of violence that requires prompt emergency medical services. But when the fires go out and the healing begins, the battles don’t always end. Compassion fatigue, burnout, and eventually post-traumatic stress disorder (PTSD) can manifest themselves out of the mental and physical trials of the everyday first responder.

Understanding the symptoms that compound into PTSD and learning how to manage them won’t only improve morale, but can also save lives, according to Paul Costello, FF/EMT-P, a 25-year veteran of the fire service.

COMPASSION FATIGUE

Defined as “an extreme state of tension and preoccupation with the suffering of those being helped to the degree that it can create a secondary traumatic stress for the helper,” compassion fatigue serves as a common precursor to PTSD.

While largescale emergencies and rescue operations do contribute to compassion fatigue, oftentimes it’s the mundane tasks that have the strongest impact on first responders. Fires are at an all-time low, meaning primary care and mental health calls will take up a majority of first responders’ time. Think of each company member’s psyche as a personal barometer; with each passing call, those barometers will gradually inch closer and closer to the end of the dial, signifying an escalating growth of compassion fatigue. While every individual’s barometer is different, the lurking danger of burnout will inevitably set in.

BURNOUT

Occupational burnout is defined as “a state of physical, emotional or mental exhaustion combined with doubts about your competence and the value of your work.”

Developing a negative worldview as a result of burnout doesn’t only run the risk of adversely affecting your personal life, but it is dangerously contagious to your family and colleagues as well. Think about the bright-eyed and bushy-tailed rookie arriving for his or her first day on the job and immediately assimilates to the burnout of a 20-year veteran. Influenced by how the veteran reacts negatively to day-by-day nuances, pretty soon the rookie exhibits his or her own gradual tilt into compassion fatigue and a faster descent into burnout.

Being the dull tool in the toolbox doesn’t just affect you, but it also affects outcomes.

“It’s almost cancerous in a manner of speaking with how it can impact your employees,” said Costello. “One of the things I firmly believe is it affects outcomes but you have to override it. Realize that you’re there as an advocate whether or not a call is exactly as dispatch has described it. It’s still that person’s emergency. You have to accept it as a reality in our profession.”

EMERGENCE OF FIRE SERVICE PTSD

Like a wildland blaze at the height of fire season, PTSD will overwhelm first responders in the form of anxiety, depression, substance abuse, sleep deprivation, panic attacks, and violent or suicidal thoughts. While many cases compound through a linear ascension of compassion fatigue and burnout, single traumatic events, such as the recent shootings in Las Vegas, can profoundly accelerate the symptoms of PTSD.

Despite glaring warning signs, the fire service maintains a troubling track record of refusing to seek help. The idea that an individual will be seen as weak or passed over for promotion if they seek counseling are common concerns for the everyday firefighter, but this type of self-deprivation creates a vicious cycle of compassion fatigue which leads to burnout and eventually develops into the bottomless pit of fire service PTSD.

NEED HELP? GET HELP

Just as you rely on your crew when entering a burning building, you certainly don’t have to fight PTSD on your own. Some insurance plans in the fire service feature an employee assistance program that provides a certain number of free visits to a licensed clinical social worker or behavioral therapist. These sessions provide you an outlet to unload your feelings and emotions while receiving guidance on how to deal with them in the future.

Are you a chief? Sometimes the most powerful form of leadership is to lead by example. Dental visits are recommended twice per year; why doesn’t mental health carry the same weight? Normalizing annual “tune-up” visits to a cognitive therapist is a healthy way to stay on top of PTSD. When an effective leader can sympathize with what a company member is going through, crews will want to emulate that behavior.

“This is a tough business that’s a slog at times with daily wear and tear,” said Costello. “You’re dealing with other people’s problems and emergencies and trying not to let the process as a whole grind you down. Whether your career is 20, 25, 30 years, if you’re going to be successful you’re going to have to have these tactics to defend yourself.”

Fire Service Health and Safety Part I, the first installment of a two-part online training series from TargetSolutions, explores numerous topics pertaining to firefighter health and wellness, including a section dedicated to anxiety and fire service PTSD.  The course outlines the
concepts, science, and economics of fire service-related health and safety as modern firefighters need to understand these interconnected concepts.

Understand your limits, seek treatment, and then pass on that knowledge to future generations. You’re not in this alone.

If you or someone you know is contemplating suicide, please call the National Suicide Prevention Lifeline at (800) 273-8255.

ABOUT THFire Service PTSDE CONTRIBUTOR

Paul Costello is a veteran paramedic, firefighter, fire service instructor, and TargetSolutions subject matter expert who has assisted in the development of numerous fire-related training courses. He played a pivotal part in the direction and production of TargetSolutions’ award-winning 1410 Evolutions training bundle, a 14-course video-driven series that was shot on location with the St. Charles Fire Department in St. Charles, Missouri and Pasco County Fire Rescue in Land O’ Lakes, Florida.

TargetSolutions’ Advanced HAZWOPER Awareness Training Series Undergoes Enhancements

TargetSolutions’ Advanced HAZWOPER Awareness series, recently enhanced with new content, multimedia, and video, provides eight hours of online hazardous materials training that covers the essentials of preventing and managing hazardous events.

Even with the best prevention methods in place, incidents involving hazardous materials are bound to happen. Understanding the nature of hazardous materials – and how to respond to various types of incidents – will help you quickly manage a dangerous situation and minimize damage.

TargetSolutions’ Advanced HAZWOPER Awareness is a four-module series of online training courses designed to educate personnel on hazardous materials, effective communication strategies, personal protective equipment (PPE), preventative measures, and much more.

Packed with eight hours of hazardous materials training, this four-part series has been reinvented with updated content, enhanced multimedia, and is now presented in a video-driven, instructor-led format.

Here is a breakdown of each module in the series:

Module 1: The series begins with a summary of the different environmental regulations surrounding the issue of hazardous materials and hazardous waste. The module presents the identification of different types of hazardous wastes and their classifications in order to prevent hazardous waste incidents.

Module 2: The second installment discusses various methods used to identify hazardous materials and substances, both in transport and industry.

Module 3: This course explores the potential risks of working with hazardous chemicals and their effects on the body, including routes of entry and basic toxicology.

Module 4: The final lesson in the series focuses on employee awareness when working around hazardous materials, steps for proper handling of hazardous materials, preventative measures to curtail hazardous incidents, and mitigation methods.

“These types of incidents are bound to happen, regardless of how much caution is taken. That’s why it’s important for first responders to equip themselves with hazardous materials training and to be ready for when they do occur. These courses have been updated, they have been enhanced, and they’re incredibly important for anyone who will be exposed to hazardous incidents.”

Bryan Fitzgerald, Content Manager, TargetSolutions

 

TargetSolutions’ course catalog also features other courses that discuss hazardous materials, including First Responders Operations Level Refresher (four modules), Introduction to Hazardous Materials (EMS), Hazard Communication (OSHA), Hazmat Spill Prevention & Control (OSHA), and Hazmat Transportation (OSHA), among others.

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

TargetSolutions’ Top 10 OSHA Training Courses for 2017

TargetSolutions’ top 10 OSHA training courses for 2017 have thus far amassed more than 160,000 total completions. 

TargetSolutions’ online training management system features more than 60 hours of OSHA safety training that complies with local, state and federal training mandates. Online OSHA training courses are available 24/7 and provide flexible learning that save organizations time and money.

With more than a month remaining in 2017, TargetSolutions’ most popular courses in the OSHA & Compliance catalog totaled more than 160,000 course completions. These courses address a variety of topics within occupational health and safety and compliance.

Here are the top 10 OSHA training courses based on total completions in 2017:

  • Sexual Harassment Awareness helps prevent incidents of sexual harassment in the workplace and provide guidelines on what to do if such an incident occurs. It aims to help employees recognize the seriousness of violations of their sexual harassment policy and help victims come forward.
  • Bloodborne Pathogens Safety explains the requirements for complying with OSHA standards and provides practical information on the various diseases and protection strategies associated with bloodborne pathogens. The course incorporates the updated 2001 OSHA standard that were made in compliance with the Needlestick Safety and Prevention Act.
  • Back Injury Prevention recognizes that the back is the most injury-prone part of the body, but most back injuries are preventable. This course highlights techniques for protecting and strengthening the back to avoid common injuries that can result in pain, lost work time, inconvenience and possible disability.
  • Hearing Conservation outlines the requirements of a Hearing Conservation Program to prevent hearing loss – one of the most common occupational diseases and second most self-reported occupational illness or injury. Continued exposure to OSHA’s defined noise level of more than 85 decibels means a company must have a Hearing Conservation Program.
  • Hazard Communication satisfies OSHA’s Hazard Communication Standard (HCS) to ensure information about chemical dangers is shared with those who need to know. This course emphasizes how to comply to HCS and incorporates recent changes made to the standard in accordance with the Globally Harmonized System (GHS) of Classification and Labeling of Chemicals.
  • Lock-Out / Tag-Out helps safeguard employees from hazardous energy while they are performing service or maintenance on machines and equipment. The course outlines the procedures necessary to properly shut down and lock-out or tag-out these machines.
  • Slips, Trips, and Falls Prevention ensures compliance to the OSHA standards for walking and working surfaces. This course helps reduce fall accidents that cause 15% of all accidental deaths.
  • Fire Extinguisher Safety educates personnel on how to operate fire extinguishers to suppress small, incipient stage, accessible fires before these fires can grow and intensify.
  • Workplace Diversity promotes an awareness about different cultures and backgrounds to help bring unity and tolerance to the workplace or community.
  • Workplace Violence provides guidance for employees to prevent workplace violence by identifying risk factors and steps to handle incidents. This course helps organizations and individual employees develop violence prevention programs that ensure safety.

For questions about TargetSolutions’ OSHA & Compliance course library, please contact us today at (800) 840-8048!

Biographical Drama ‘Only the Brave’ Refuels the Firefighter Film Genre

Blog by Greg Baldwin
Marketing Content Specialist at TargetSolutions

Films inspired by the fire service have a habit of settling their themes around the “Man vs. Fire” climactic battle, leaving the story and plot as a mild formality. The recently released Only the Brave, directed by Joseph Kosinski, completely rewrites the firefighter film formula and serves as a testament to the resilience of the human spirit in the eyes of danger.

Based on the true story of the Yarnell Hill Fire near Yarnell, Arizona in June 2013, the story follows superintendent Eric “Supe” Marsh (Josh Brolin) of the Prescott Fire Department and his Type 2 battalion (also known as “deucers”) as they strive to one day become certified Type 1 (also known as hotshots). Supe is wise beyond his years and his crew operates as a well oiled high-performance engine, but despite these credentials their certification is still four years in the making. Things get testy when rookie Brendan McDonough (Miles Teller) is given an opportunity to earn a spot in the company. McDonough has just been kicked out of his mother’s house, has a child on the way, and bears a history of substance abuse. Paired with his poor physical conditioning and limited intellect, he’s branded the nickname “Donut” and is nearly dismissed on multiple occasions.

In a way, Donut’s exile into the real world from the sanctuary of his mother’s house is synonymous with the film’s theme of marching into danger and being forced to create something out of nothing. Laziness and abuse make up the only world that Donut has known, but that all changes as he confronts the crossroads in his life: take his limited fire experience and put it to good use with Supe’s department or continue his path to eventual self-destruction. Both decisions are dangerous but only one is correct.

The film succeeds in generating tension between Donut and his new company while subtly constructing the bonds that will eventually bring them together as one unit: the Granite Mountain Hotshots. There is an instance where Donut can no longer handle the escalating hazing and stops short of punching one of his instigating comrades. In most other films, the punch would have been thrown and the team would be no less for the wear. In this case, Donut has too much to lose and the members of the company start to take notice when he refuses to give up despite his struggles. It’s the fact that he didn’t throw the punch (as he probably would have done as a junkie) that makes his colleagues start to respect him. Whether this particular altercation is based on fact or not, the traditional formula of the firefighter film genre would ultimately call for Donut to land the punch. No exceptions.

The landscapes of the film are nothing short of breathtaking and, at times, terrifying. Supe recalls an occurrence early in his career where he came across an engulfed bear fleeing from an inferno. “It was the most beautiful and terrible thing I have ever seen.” Utilizing a healthy blend of practical and CGI effects, the film brilliantly illustrates this contradiction in ways that no other firefighter film has ever done. To our protagonists, the intimidating panoramic landscapes aren’t comprised of beauty or nature; only fuel for the fire.

Sure to refuel the firefighter film genre, the emotionally supercharged Only the Brave has opened to unanimous fanfare with critics lauding its story, writing, acting, and stunning visual effects. While the epic is a work of fiction, the climactic event that it is based on is not, and that certainly hits home. As I sit behind my computer writing this, somewhere far away in another city, another state, another country, there is a cadre of brave men and women who are entering a fire zone right now and putting it all on the line. Sometimes we could all use a reminder about the realities of the dangers that the fire service faces every day. Today, Only the Brave is that reminder.

ABOUT THE CONTRIBUTOR

Greg Greg Baldwin Content SpecialistBaldwin joined the TargetSolutions team in June of 2015 and serves as the company’s Marketing Content Specialist. A graduate of San Diego State University with a degree in marketing, he played a key role in the development of the award-winning NFPA 1410 Evolutions series as one of two videographers on location in St. Charles, Missouri. Greg is a veteran volunteer of the local animal shelters, having won County of San Diego Volunteer of the Year honors in 2013 for his implementation of a digital marketing program.

Enhanced Multimedia and New Video Format Headline Fleet Program Updates

TargetSolutions has made revitalizing updates to two key online driver safety training courses in its Fleet Program: Dangers of Speeding and Seat Belt & Airbag Safety.

In an ongoing effort to upgrade its versatile Fleet Program, TargetSolutions has made modernizing updates to two key lessons. Dangers of Speeding and Seat Belt & Airbag Safety have both been completely revamped and restyled in an instructor-led video format with an invigorating multimedia interface.

Updating these online driver safety training courses has been a goal that TargetSolutions set out to accomplish at the start of the year. These two modules will be the eighth and ninth lessons of the program that have been revitalized since turning the calendar with more on the way.

COURSE OBJECTIVES

Dangers of Speeding

  • Describe the pervasiveness of the problem and understand why drivers speed
  • Discuss the legal consequences of speeding
  • Analyze the dangers and costs of speeding
  • Identify stopping distances
  • Explain how to avoid speeders
  • Discuss how to determine the appropriate speed for each circumstance.

Seat Belt & Airbag Safety

  • Describe the benefits of wearing seat belts
  • List the three types of collisions that occur in a crash
  • Explore the benefits of airbags
  • Interpret the benefits of proper use of child safety seats
  • Discuss the laws that pertain to seatbelts; child safety seats, and airbags

“Our clients have been requesting these updates to our Fleet Program and we have duly responded with nine optimized courses so far this year. This is our way of showing that your voices are always heard with TargetSolutions.”

Bryan Fitzgerald, Content Manager, TargetSolutions

Check out our course catalog for a complete listing of our Fleet Program lessons. For more information on these online driver safety training courses or if you have any questions, please contact TargetSolutions today at (800) 840-8048.