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Manage Credentials Tool: The Ultimate Way to Achieve Total Compliance

As an employer, you are responsible for ensuring that your employees are legally qualified to perform their job functions. To keep them safe and minimize your organization’s exposure, TargetSolutions has developed the Manage Credentials application.

With this easy-to-use tool, you can track the status of:

>> EMS certifications
>> Firefighter and police job qualifications
>> Compliance tasks
>> Drivers licenses and auto insurance
>> Virtually any type of data that includes a date or identification number

You can also use the Manage Credentials application to create, deliver and record organization-specific certifications that include:

>> TargetSolutions online training courses
>> Your organizations own courses and training materials
>> Other web-based assignments and tests

The Manage Credentials application gives you complete control over what certifications you create and what training components are necessary for the employee to fulfill. It also allows you to:

>> Define areas of training – and their corresponding training hours.

>> Categorize training (Medical, Fire Qualifications, OSHA Compliance, Certifications, etc.).
>> Send automated alerts to the credential holder and others in the organization.
>> Quickly see the status of all credentials, with the ability to easily filter data.

For more information on the Manage Credentials application, please check the Help section inside the platform or contact your TargetSolutions account manager at (800) 840-8048.

Upgrades to File Upload Tool in File Center Make Data Storage More Efficient with TargetSolutions

TargetSolutions clients can attest to the number of upgrades we have made to the file upload tool in the File Center over the years. And recently we did it once again. Using the newest, blazing fast technology, we have created a tool that allows multiple files to be uploaded at once and then managed and updated directly from the upload page. This screen shot below shows the new File Center’s enhanced interface.

Not only that, we have changed the way files are viewed during processing, making it easier to tell when files have been successfully uploaded.

File size restrictions have been removed, as has the session timer limits of the upload page. That means that you can upload a large file and there is no risk of being logged out due to inactivity. For more information about the new capabilities of the file upload tool, check out the File Center section of our Help System inside the platform.

Responding to Incidents Involving a Chevrolet Volt

Blog by Jason Emery
Electric Vehicle Safety Training

Let’s take a look at the first Extended Range Electric Vehicle (EREV) on the market, the Chevrolet Volt. It was first released in the fall of 2010 in select markets, and went nationwide in 2011.

From the exterior, the vehicle can be primarily identified by the Volt badging on the front fenders and on the lift-gate. Additionally, the door for the charging port is located on the driver’s side front fender underneath the Volt logo. The interior features digital display screens which also provide clues such as the battery state of charge indictor.

The Volt is constructed of nearly 80 percent high and ultra-high strength steel with the vehicle essentially built around the 6-foot, 400-pound, liquid-cooled, 360-volt lithium ion battery that runs down the center of the vehicle and under the rear seats. In addition to the high voltage battery, there is an engine generator under the hood that is designed to generate electricity to power the drive motors when the battery becomes depleted. The average range on the fully charged battery is 35 to 50 miles with an additional 344 miles provided by the engine generator running off the 9.3 gallon gasoline supply. The Volt battery can be recharged using a level I or II charging station.

Since this vehicle has both a high voltage electrical system as well as a gasoline powered generator onboard, first responders should treat this vehicle as you would a hybrid and be sure to control both energy sources.

Fire Engineering Magazine recently published an article with participation by members of our Electric Vehicle Safety training staff that provides an overview of the Chevy Volt, its systems, and emergency response procedures. The piece features relevant and useful information about key characteristics to identify a Volt; the vehicles construction, including the electrical system, high-voltage battery and occupant protection systems; and a step-by-step guide for responders.

It also emphasizes that first responders must ensure they understand the technology and operation behind EVs and HEVs to ensure overall safety for all parties involved.

As part of NFPAs mission to provide the latest information regarding electric vehicles to first responders, we would like to highlight key details noted in this article regarding the appropriate electric vehicle safety training response procedure for a Chevy Volt. Similar information can be found on our websites vehicle manufacturer resource page and will be included in our soon to be released Electric Vehicle Emergency Field Guide.

>> Identifying the types of vehicles in a crash is essential. It is more critical than ever for responders to identify the types of vehicles involved in a crash. As green technology and alternative fueled vehicles become more popular, responders should not immediately, always assume that they are working with conventional vehicles at a crash scene.

>> Securing vehicle from potential movement should be priority. Responders should control potential hazards by chocking the wheels, accessing the passenger compartment to set the parking brake, placing the vehicle in park, and shutting down the high voltage system. Specifically, in the case of a Volt follow this two-step process:

>> Shut the vehicle down by pressing the power button (found just above the gear selector).If possible then remove the proximity keys from the vehicle. Then, disable the 12v electrical system by using the special cut location provided in the rear of the vehicle. In the rear hatchback, an access panel is found on the driver’s sidewall of the cargo area. This access panel displays a logo of a firefighter’s helmet to indicate its purpose. Behind the access panel is a bundle of wires in a black wrap with GM’s “first responder yellow cut tape” attached to it. Make two cuts, one on either side of the yellow cut tape.

>> Extrication operations: Although high voltage cabling and components are not generally found in typical cut points, it is important to inspect the area that is being cut to confirm this. During extrication, it is also important for responders to keep in mind that the Volt is comprised of approximately 80 percent high-strength steel. In order to respond effectively, responders should be aware of their rescue tools’ ability to cut through these materials. Also noted in the article are back-up methods for responders in the case their tools are not capable of cutting high-strength steels.

>> Vehicle fires and submersions. Traditional firefighting equipment is acceptable to extinguish a Volt that is on fire and water application does not create a shock hazard. In addition, responders can safely operate around a submerged Volt in the same manner as a conventional vehicle or a hybrid.

Crashes Involving the Chevy Volt
In light of the negative publicity, electric vehicles have received recently regarding their involvement with fires; it is interesting to note the outcome of a recent crash in upstate New York.

In May in Geneseo, N.Y., a Toyota Camry traveling at a high rate of speed struck a Chevrolet Volt and another vehicle parked in a driveway. The damage to the Volt was extensive, especially on the driver’s side. The Camry, a conventional vehicle, caught fire as a result of the crash and was extinguished by an off-duty police officer prior to the Fire Departments arrival. The Volt, however, did not experience a crash-related fire.

This incident is a reminder to first responders that all vehicles come with potential hazards that must be addressed. It is also important to note that the National Highway Safety Transportation Administration (NHSTA) does not believe that electric vehicles present any greater risk of fire than conventional ones. As for a response to a severe crash such as this involving and electric or hybrid vehicles, there are some procedures to follow. NHSTA, with assistance from the NFPA, has developed guidelines to deal with damaged vehicles equipped with lithium-ion batteries. Responders should familiarize themselves with these guidelines and be prepared to pass them along to other personnel, such as the wrecker operators involved in the scene.

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

About the Author
Jason Emery, a 21-year veteran of the fire service, is a lieutenant with the Waterbury (CT) Fire Department, where he is assigned to the rescue/hazmat company. He has a BS in fire science from the University of New Haven and is a member of the International Society of Fire Service Instructors. He is a subject matter expert for the National Fire Protection Association, a member of its development team, and the lead instructor for its Hybrid and Electric Vehicle Training program. He founded Emergency Training Solutions, designed the PowerPoint materials for Fire Engineering’s Handbook for Firefighter I & II, and is a contributing author to the 2nd edition of the Handbook.

TargetSolutions’ Upgraded Help Section Provides Valuable Resources for Admins, Users

Have you visited our upgraded Help section lately? TargetSolutions’ comprehensive Help section is a great tool for supplemental training and tutorials on how to operate the platform. We have focused on making the Help section user-friendly, providing you with detailed step-by-step instructions and video tutorials on all of the applications available in the site.

It is our mission to provide valuable support to all of our clients. We want your experience with TargetSolutions to be a successful one. We encourage you to explore the upgraded Help section and see for yourself! To get started, please click on the Help tab inside your organization’s customized TargetSolutions site. A new window featuring the Help section will open (pictured below).

Browse Home Page Support is targeted toward standard users while Browse Administrator Support provides administrators with FAQs on commonly asked questions and step-by-step tutorials about operating the applications within the site. Watch Video Tutorials provides you with video tutorials on all of the applications. There is also a Live Help section that enables users and admins to chat with a TargetSolutions support team member. This feature is available Monday to Thursday from 8 a.m. to 5 p.m. (PST) and on Fridays from 8 a.m. to noon (PST).

For more information on any of these tools, please feel free to contact TargetSolutions toll-free at (800) 840-8048.

The Policy-Behavior Disconnect in the Fire Service

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

I often poll program attendees about the need to complete a 360-degree size-up. While the responses are mixed as to how many have policies and how many don’t, those with policies that require a 360-degree size-up often admit that first-arriving companies often do not do them.

This prompts me to ask why. Why would a first arriving company fail to comply with departmental policy and not complete a 360-degree size-up? There may be many explanations. Among them is a philosophical disagreement with the policy leading to a conscious decision for non-compliance. Another explanation may be a failure to see the importance of completing a size-up.

Yet another explanation may be there is a policy-behavior disconnect. The policy says, the first arriving company shall do a 360-degree size-up on structure fires.

That’s pretty clear.

However, in training (at the fire station, at the burn tower and/or in acquired structures) many firefighters are not required to complete a 360-degree size-up prior to entry. I’m not talking about the pre-burn walk-around required by the NFPA 1403 standard. I’m talking about making the fire crews walk around the structure as the first step in every evolution. This creates a habit that will become the automatic performance under stress.

Your muscles don’t learn from verbal instructions. Your muscles learn from muscle movement. You can read all day long about what you’re supposed to do and how you’re supposed to do it. But you’re not really learning until you move your body and do it.

A 360-degree size-up is a situational awareness best practice that should be performed at every structure fire, sans physical limitation based on structure size, access and obstructions. If you want your policy and behavior to align, train by physical movement of the body in ways that are consistent with your policies.

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

Interactive Lessons Make TargetSolutions’ Content More Engaging

Online training and e-learning has evolved from a static, read-and-click format to one that is video- and multimedia-based and TargetSolutions is exploring all the flexibility and creativity the improved formats offer to a students learning environment.

Recently, TargetSolutions had a user request to lengthen and improve the content of one of our sexual harassment courses. Rather than downplay the need to revise the course, we looked at it as an opportunity to make some of our content better.

With the help of an Articulate product called Storyline, TargetSolutions is adding more interactive lessons making content engaging. We are looking to utilize drag-and-drop functionality, as well as combine static files into a more video-driven display of information.

TargetSolutions strives to deliver content in a format users will enjoy. At the same time, the learning environment must be taken into account so as to not become a distraction. While the development of this type of content is a little more time-consuming, TargetSolutions is confident the end result will have users coming back for more.

TargetSolutions Simplifies Distribution of Policies Videos and More for Corona Fire Department

The Corona Fire Department has been serving the citizens of Corona since 1898. The department’s mission of serving our city with pride, integrity, and professionalism while protecting and enhancing the quality of life for the citizens of Corona, has never wavered.

Corona has seven stations and 100 members serving a population of more than 153,000 residents over 39.2 square miles. The department is headed by Fire Chief John Medina, while Captain Jeremy Verderber makes certain the staff is properly certified and prepared to serve at a moment’s notice.

But ensuring everyone within a department is up to date with all of their training can be complicated and difficult. The muddled process of having to attain written signatures from each individual at all seven stations where they took a course, read a document, or watched a video was unsustainable for Corona. The absence of a comprehensive training management tool was preventing the department from reaching its maximum efficiency.

In 2009, with the arrival of TargetSolutions, everything changed for the department. Coronas most challenging training issues – mainly achieving accreditation and tracking records – were quickly eliminated.

“For the mandated stuff and compliance issues, TargetSolutions is actually great,” Verderber said. “The first thing is that it satisfies minimum mandatory training requirements in certain subjects, provides all the EMS continuing education units that you would need, and allows you to add your own personal content and distribute it with the push of a button and get accurate reporting back on who has completed it.”

“The powerful Activities Builder tool inside the platform is a huge benefit,” Verderber said.

“We utilize it to send SOGs, he said. We can create a new SOG and then send it out as an activity. They review the new SOG and check the box to submit it. It makes it really easy for captains to disseminate the information. In 10 minutes it can be sent out to the entire department. Thirty days later, we can spend another 10 minutes to run a report. Department captains don’t have to worry about it, as opposed to e-mailing a hard copy and telling everyone to sign here.”

With Activities Builder, TargetSolutions makes it easy for everyone in the department to watch relevant videos.

“We can have all the crews watch it,” Verderber said. “We load it, send it out as an activity, say watch this video, and now it’s on there and anyone can pull it up and watch it.”

The overall functionality of TargetSolutions has improved compliance by giving Corona the ability to easily run reports that provide detailed information on who has done what.

“Before, we would send out a document through e-mail and tell everybody to take a look at it, but we didn’t know if they were reading it or not,” Verderber said. “Now, there is a box to check, which gives me the comfort to know they looked at it.”

About TargetSolutions
Founded in 1999, TargetSolutions is the leader in online training and records management for public entities. More than 2,000 organizations across the country use our technology to solve their training needs. We work hard every day to understand our clients’ challenges and deliver powerful tools that save time and money.

The Time to Redefine the Art and Science of Firefighting Is Nearly Upon Us

Blog by Christopher J. Naum
Executive Producer of www.buildingsonfire.com

Today’s incident demands on the fireground are unlike those of the recent past, requiring incident commanders, commanding and company officers and firefighters to have increased technical knowledge of building construction. It also requires heightened sensitivity to fire behavior and fire dynamics, a focus on operational structural stability of the compartment and building envelope, as well as considerations related to occupancy risk vs. the occupancy type.

Without question, there is an immediate need for today’s emerging and operating command and company officers to increase their foundation of knowledge and insights related to modern technology and its relationship with building occupancy, building construction and fire protection engineering.

We need to be ready to modify traditional and conventional strategic operating profiles in order to safeguard companies, personnel and team compositions.

Strategies and tactics must have the combined adequacy of sufficient staffing, fire flow and tactical patience orchestrated that identifies with the fire profiling, predictability of the occupancy and building profile and accounts for presumptive fire behavior within compartments and buildings.

We used to discern with a measured degree of predictability how buildings would perform, react and fail under most fire conditions. Implementing the fundamentals of art and science of firefighting operations built upon nine decades of experience and proven strategies continues to be the model of suppression operations. These same fundamental strategies continue to drive methodologies and curriculums in our current training programs and academies.

The lack of appreciation and the understanding of correlating principles involving fire behavior, fuel and rate of heat release — as well as the growth stages of compartment fires within a structural occupancy — are the defining paths from which the fire service must reexamine operations in order to identify with the predictability of occupancy performance during fire suppression operations. Ultimately, this will increase suppression effectiveness and firefighter safety.

The demands and requirements of modern firefighting, as well as the influence of technology will continue to require the placement of personnel within situations and buildings that carry risk, uncertainty and inherent danger. Risk management needs to become fluid and integrated with intelligent tactical deployments and operations recognizing the risk problematically and not fatalistically, resulting in safety conscious strategies and tactics and operational excellence.

Our world has evolved and changed. There are a variety of technological and sociological demands that create a continuing element of change in the built environment and our infrastructure. With these changes and demands come the requirements to assess these vulnerabilities, hazards, threats and dangers with effective and dynamic risk management and competent command and control.

These changes influence the way we do business in the street and equate to the risks and hazards you and your personnel will be confronted during incident operations. Fire suppression tactics must be adjusted for the rapidly changing methods and materials impacting all forms of building construction, occupancies and structures.

The need to redefine the art and science of firefighting is nearly upon us. Some things do stand the test of time, others need to adjust, evolve and change. Not for the sake of change only, but for the emerging and evolving buildings, structures and occupancies being built, developed or renovated in our communities.

About the Author
Christopher J. Naum, SFPE, has more than 37 years of field and operations experience and previously worked in command, operations and training capacities. Currently serves as the executive producer for several fire service websites, including www.buildingsonfire.com.

“Request a File” Functionality Assists Tracking of Offsite Training

We have recently received a few calls from clients wondering about the new Request a File component in Activities Builder. This new functionality was added a few months ago as an especially handy feature for tracking offsite training.

The Request File component enables administrators to require the user attach a file to the activity before they are able to complete it. In the past, users would have to record the training in TargetSolutions and then hand the physical certificate to the training officer or other administrative personnel.

Now, the user can scan the certificate and the Administrator can view it right from the TargetSolutions platform!

Publish Articulate Presentations as SCORM Courses with TargetSolutions

Attention all clients using Articulate Presenter! Did you know you can publish Articulate files as SCORM courses? Publishing your presentation as a SCORM course enables you to set the minimum amount of time a learner must spend with the content before being able to finish the course and receive credit. You can also build a test using Articulate’s test-building tool (QuizmakerTM) and have the scores populate in your completion reports.

The TargetSolutions platform supports SCORM compliant courses from all sources, but the easy to use Articulate platform makes creating them a cinch! No coding experience is required, simply follow these instructions to publish your Articulate presentation as a SCORM course. For information on how to upload the course, log in to your TargetSolutions account, select the Help tab, Browse Administrator Support and then search “Articulate.”

Do not have Articulate? Check out this link and then contact your Account Manager to purchase the program through us at a discounted rate.