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Improvements to User Selector Tool Saves Time for Administrators

In a recent blog post, we reported on our efforts to improve the User Selector tool. We are excited to announce those changes are now available for clients. While most of the improvements were behind-the-scenes work, you will notice several small changes to the design of the tool, including the elimination of the checkbox graphics in the middle pane of the tool, as well a change to the way names are displayed (Smith, Joe instead of Joe Smith).

We have also implemented a third-pane display for Users Selected. This pane will list users and give you the option to sort selected users alphabetically by name.

We are confident these improvements to User Selector tool will make your experience much faster. And soon, the tool will also include the ability to search by employee ID. This change has been heavily requested and we are looking to launch it before the end of the year.

 

Mastermind Behind TargetSolutions’ Fire Department ISO Tool Joins the Team

TargetSolutions has recently hired Tim Riley, retired Training Chief from Dunedin Fire Department in Florida, as our first Product Specialist. Tim, being a past administrator of the platform for Dunedin, comes to TargetSolutions with a wealth of platform and industry knowledge.

Tim is truly the mastermind behind the fire department ISO solution, which is now available on the TargetSolutions platform. While with Dunedin, he helped us build the application that is extremely efficient for ISO tracking of training.

In his new capacity as Product Specialist, Tim will work closely with our East Coast departments, helping ensure they get the most out of the program. Tim will be hosting user groups, webinars and making department visits when needed. In fact, Tim will be presenting Company Training Officer Sessions in Florida next week (Dec. 10-12). The sessions are being held at Station 84 in Miramar, Fla., at 9 a.m. and 1 p.m. If you would like to attend, please e-mail TargetSolutions at usergroup@targetsolutions.com.

Tim will cover fire department ISO requirements and the reasoning behind certain training restrictions. He will also offer tips for maneuvering around the TargetSolutions platform, making it easier to find the training that needs documenting and for building reports.

We could not be happier to have Tim on our team as a Product Specialist. If you would like some assistance from Tim, please contact your Account Manager to setup a meeting.

Creating Customized Activities with TargetSolutions Is Essential to El Dorado Irrigation District

The El Dorado Irrigation District in Northern California began operating in 1957, providing drinking water for homes, schools and businesses, as well as recycled water from its wastewater treatment plants to irrigate residential and public landscapes. Water is an essential link within El Dorado County and continues to be an important cog in shaping the county’s economic, ecological and cultural face.

The organization needs a simple and reliable pathway to distribute and track various training requirements. With the organization managing water, wastewater, hydroelectric plants and recreation centers, El Dorado Irrigation District has utilized TargetSolutions since 2009 for organizing and manually setting up training schedules for multiple departments.

“The main reason we use TargetSolutions – and it has been awesome – is to record any type of training our employees have had, including personnel documents,” says Human Resources Technician Dianne Matteson.

“We first started using it for the Sexual Harassment and the drug and alcohol courses for employees and supervisors, workplace diversity, and workplace violence. As we gained momentum, we started creating our own activities. With the Activities Builder application, we have come up with 100 or so activities.”

TargetSolutions has enabled El Dorado Irrigation District to build “custom activities” that cater to specific needs and requirements of the organization. One particular activity this organization has created includes safety inspection lists for managers to record data when inspecting various areas of the plant.

“When creating activities it is easy to do and manage,” Matteson said. “You can add components to it like ‘text’ and ‘certificates.’ ”

From the finance department to the organizations engineers, El Dorado Irrigation District’s employees need to remain compliant with standards that are required by OSHA and wastewater management. With the powerful reporting application the organization is able to generate weekly, monthly, and quarterly reports for supervisors to provide them with vital statistics on incompletion or completions of courses and policies.

The TargetSolutions report generator has saved El Dorado Irrigation District many hours or manual recordkeeping. Eliminating file cabinets and keeping records of training, certificates and personnel documents within the platforms File Center helps the organization make data easily accessible.

In order to avoid fines of thousands of dollars, El Dorado Irrigation District trains, tracks and reports online with TargetSolutions. With OSHA checking on the organization periodically, the report generator is able to provide accurate and detailed documentation of course completions.

“TargetSolutions is wonderful,” Matteson said. “If people aren’t using it or have never used it before, they should definitely give it a chance because it is probably one of the best programs I’ve used.”

About TargetSolutions
TargetSolutions is the leading provider of web-based technology solutions for fire and EMS departments. These solutions enable departments to maintain compliance, reduce losses, deliver curriculum, and track all station-level tasks, certifications and training activities.

West Pierce Fire Rescue Reaps Huge Benefits from TargetSolutions’ Powerful Tracking Applications

In years past, West Pierce Fire & Rescue in Lakewood, Wash., faced numerous challenges managing its records and maintaining compliant. With seven stations it was extremely difficult meeting requirements without a comprehensive and powerful training management platform.

“We had a records management system that was not user-friendly,” said Captain Jay Sumerlin, who is responsible for ensuring the department is properly trained and is using its available resources to become the best, most efficient department possible. “We would have to type in every class individually. It offered no starting point.”

The complicated process did not end with the department’s old and cumbersome computerized system. Sumerlin also had to manage various paper files the old-fashioned way, which was extremely difficult and time consuming.

“Some stuff was on paper, some was online,” said Sumerlin. “We were relying on two or three different platforms to track training records.”

With the training demands that are placed on fire departments at a national and state level, depending on numerous tracking methods to maintain compliance was becoming increasingly inefficient for West Pierce Fire & Rescue. Fortunately it found an affordable and viable option for increasing efficiencies and maintaining compliance in TargetSolutions in July of 2010.

“TargetSolutions gave us the ability to schedule classes for individuals and hold them accountable for training,” Sumerlin said. It is great for tracking exactly who did what and when they did it.

The first-hand experience of dealing with the difficulties of using multiple sources to track training and maintain compliance makes Sumerlin grateful that TargetSolutions provides a platform that brings everything together.

“The best part is that it puts everything in one place,” Sumerlin said.

Sumerlin also enjoys the overall functionality TargetSolutions offers. With tools like e-signatures, sending out documents and ensuring they have been read is simple.

“Whenever there’s a change to a policy, we send it out through TargetSolutions and each member can check the box that lets us know that they have read and accept the new policy – whereas before, we would have to set aside time in meetings to give them the new policy and then have them sign a piece of paper saying that they read it,” said Sumerlin. “With all of those paper files, who knows where they all ended up.”

West Pierce Fire & Rescue also takes advantage of Web Events, which is an additional service TargetSolutions offers for departments to conduct live training exercises without having to take personnel out of their stations for group sessions.

“We use Web Events to host online meetings that we broadcast live to all of our stations and then create courses that coincide with the lesson,” said Sumerlin. “This keeps everyone at their stations, which shortens response times and makes them that much closer to potentially saving lives.”

About TargetSolutions
TargetSolutions is the leading provider of web-based technology solutions for fire and EMS departments. These solutions enable departments to maintain compliance, reduce losses, deliver curriculum, and track all station-level tasks, certifications and training activities.

Bulletin Board Functionality Makes TargetSolutions Platform More Engaging

Did you know you can personalize your TargetSolutions online training and records management system by updating your Bulletin Board functionality? Administrators and designated Supervisors have the ability to update the Bulletin Board as often as they like by changing content, font, justification and by adding web links and pictures.

Perhaps the most exciting way to personalize the Home page is by adding a video to the Bulletin Board. You can add one video or multiple videos, keep the same video up for six months or switch it out on a daily basis. It is a great way to keep users engaged and logging into the site.

Embedding a video is a fairly straightforward process. The video needs to reside on a third-party site, such as Vimeo or YouTube. Upon grabbing the appropriate embed code from the third-party site, you simply utilize the HTML editor within the Bulletin Board to place the video. It is that easy. Give it a try today!

For questions about TargetSolutions’ bulletin board functionality, contact us today at (800) 840-8048. 

From Innovation to System Reliability TargetSolutions Is One Step Ahead

TargetSolutions delivers the most powerful online training and records management system on the market today. We are also committed to providing the industry’s most reliable platform. That is why we have invested in the very best technology possible to ensure our system is fast and dependable.

System Reliability: TargetSolutions is proud of the fact our servers consistently exceed 99.9 percent uptime. We utilize top of the line equipment to ensure our database is sound and our customers are satisfied.

Responsive Development: TargetSolutions deploys a progressive management cycle enabling our talented engineers to stay ahead of the curve and quickly deliver applications that exceed our customers’ needs.

Disaster Recovery: TargetSolutions backup datacenter has been strategically positioned to secure our production infrastructure. If a natural disaster strikes, our customers will not experience an outage.

Enhanced Platform: TargetSolutions has revamped its online training and records management system. Our easy-to-use, intuitive platform features powerful tools for training and recordkeeping.

“TargetSolutions is committed to delivering cutting-edge applications that deliver the best technology solutions imaginable,” said TargetSolutions Vice President of Operations Alex Day. “We take great pride in providing our clients with a reliable system.”

What Clients Are Saying About TargetSolutions’ New and Improved Platform

After updating the TargetSolutions platform, we asked for client feedback to see what they think:
Ken Treffinger of Sarasota County Fire Department
“After seeing the new (TargetSolutions) platform, I was immediately impressed by the layout and the look that it presented. Actually, I believe my first word after seeing it was, ‘wow!’ The new platform offered by (TargetSolutions) is sleek, professional, and appears very user-friendly. I feel the new platform will make my job easier with its convenient layout and the ease of navigation it offers.”
Jackie Hulsey, database coordinator for Seminole County Fire/EMS Training Center
“I really like the new platform! The entire look and feel of the site is clean and organized. On the home page, listing everything that is coming due, including credentials, right up front is very helpful. I believe it has assisted lapsed memories of certain individuals on several occasions. Also, although the new notifications box is unobtrusive, the fact that it is more visible when highlighted and includes notifications for several additional items makes it an added benefit to our users.”
Kathy Edwards, training section lieutenant with Lake County Fire Rescue
“I was thrilled to start the new application when we did. It has been an upgrade in some areas. The largest area benefiting was the File Center. The ability to move my own files within the File Center has allowed for a cleaner, more organized site. As administrator to TargetSolutions, I have been able to rid our site of unnecessary items, delete unwanted items and/or non-training related items and organize our site to be more user-friendly. The new site makes it easier for users to see what is required of them, locate classes, and track their credentials.”
Stuart Sprung, training specialist for Oceanside Fire Department
“When TargetSolutions first came out and we started using it, it did not have the ability to do everything it does now. It was probably at 25 percent of how it is functioning now. It was really kind of a CE provider. The management aspect of it was in its infancy. But over time, it has become something we use extensively. Before TargetSolutions, training and recordkeeping was very cumbersome. We knew that for the firefighters to use TargetSolutions, it had to be easy or they would not use it. With TargetSolutions guys can now enter a full day’s worth of training reports in less than five minutes and that data is captured. Our guys have logged thousands more training hours than ever before ever since we implemented TargetSolutions.”
TargetSolutions welcomes client feedback to continue developing our platform.

The Time Has Come, TargetSolutions Is Switching All Clients to Upgraded Platform in December

If you’ve been waiting to make the switch to TargetSolutions’ new platform, the time has come. Over the next few weeks, TargetSolutions will be transferring all of its remaining clients who haven’t switched to the upgraded system yet. All sites will be updated by Friday, Dec. 14.

For those who have waited – get ready for a whole new experience. TargetSolutions is confident you’re going to love the new features.

“The reaction has been tremendous,” said Jenny Fergason, who serves as TargetSolutions’ Director of Client Services. “The clients are finding it to be more intuitive and easier to navigate. Our tech team really did a great job enhancing the platform.”

Clients already on the system have gushed over the systems look and functionality. It is more engaging and user friendly, with many new features, like the web-based Help System, the ability to notify a user the minute a new assignment has been assigned, a real-time progress dashboard and more robust reporting capabilities. They are also enjoying the recent upgrades to the File Center and the new Shift Calendar, while users have benefited from the new Notification System.

“The ability to pin credentials to the top of the schedule on the home page is really simplifying the process for users,” Fergason said. “Now, when they login to the website, they immediately know where to go and what they have to do. It’s just more engaging and effective.”

The new system was first made available in late 2011 and TargetSolutions has systematically moved clients over. But the time has come for a mandatory switch, Fergason said.

We are confident in the upgrades to the system and know you’ll enjoy the benefits of our new system, Fergason said.

TargetSolutions’ Client Services team is always ready to answer questions at (800) 840-8048.

About TargetSolutions
TargetSolutions is the leading provider of web-based technology solutions for fire and EMS departments. These solutions enable departments to maintain compliance, reduce losses, deliver curriculum, and track all station-level tasks, certifications and training activities.

Remember to Focus on What Matters: Your Job

Blog by Nicolas Thomas
Division Chief for Benicia Fire Department, Calif.

The fire service is undergoing significant changes. Local governments are using rolling brown outs to save money. Fire stations and fire companies are being defunded and permanently closed. Communities are revisiting auto-aid /mutual-aid agreements with their neighboring communities. Company staffing strength is being reduced. Training budgets and fire prevention budgets are being slashed. A day doesn’t go by without an article in the local paper calling for fire department right sizing.

Unfortunately, most of this is beyond our control. But what is in our control is whether or not us firefighters focus on what matters: our profession.

If your fire station is anything like mine, you have access to a library containing in-house developed policies, procedures, and training plans. Your library probably includes commercially available publications such as the NFPA Fire Protection Handbook, IFSTA manuals, and other books focused on topics like ladder truck operations, engine operations, fire investigations, rescue operations, etc. If you stacked all the materials in your library you’d probably have a stack 4 feet high.

If your fire station is anything like mine, you have access to the Internet. Personally, I’m yet to fail in locating something I’m searching on the Internet. I especially like perusing the NFA, FEMA, CDC and TargetSolutions web pages. Give them a look.

If your fire station is anything like mine, you have access to senior personnel. Colleagues who have seen and done it all in this business. It says here story telling is still effective for passing along knowledge. And trust me; senior colleagues will share stories if you ask.

There are dozens of ways you and your crew can use your library, Internet and senior personnel to improve your knowledge, skills and abilities. I’ll leave it to you on how to utilize available resources. All I ask is that you stop wasting time on things like shift wars, food in the pantry, or washing and fueling the rig.

We need to bring our A game every single day. Let’s focus! Let’s bring it!

Editor’s Note: This article originally appeared on TargetSolutions Command Post website in February, 2011.

About the Author
Nicolas Thomas is a Division Chief for the City of Benicia Fire Department. He has more than 30 years of fire service experience, including 20 years as an officer. He has a BS in Fire Administration and has completed extensive leadership training through the National Fire Academy and through the California State Fire Marshal Office.

Clients Find Exactly What They Need with Fire Department File Sharing in TargetSolutions’ Community Resources

Tim Riley still remembers the first time he was able to put TargetSolutions to work for his organization. It was late in the summer of 2009 and H1N1 was in the news on a daily basis. The powerful influenza virus was reaching pandemic proportions when Riley, formerly the training chief with the Pinellas Park Fire Department in Florida, was tasked with testing out his organizations new online training system.

“It didn’t take him long to realize the departments new training management platform was going to make his job easier.”

“We were just coming on board and I was told to go back and play with it,” Riley said. “The first thing I took a look at was Community Resources. I just did a quick search on H1N1 and low and behold, there was the exact type of PowerPoint I was looking for from a department in California. I immediately saved it to my desktop, changed the references of California to Florida, changed the references of earthquakes to hurricanes, and assigned it to my people. I knew right then and there Community Resources was going to be a tremendous tool.”

Riley was instantly enamored with Community Resources because it keeps training officers from having to recreate the wheel every time, he said.

“There are so many things that have been shared in Community Resources, its truly an invaluable tool,” said Riley, who now works as a Product Specialist with TargetSolutions and is responsible for helping TargetSolutions build its ISO Tracking solution. “We’re all trying to do more with less. This is one way we can help each other do that – by sharing resources that can be customized for different departments.”

The two highest-rated resources, which were posted in August of 2009, are still the most popular with TargetSolutions’ network of users. Together the two resources have been viewed more than 11,000 times and have been utilized by more than 100 organizations.

Jeff Clyons, who worked as SDFDs assistant training officer when the videos were created, said his department’s firefighters were having issues with ventilation, so it attacked the issue with a multi-pronged training approach. The department spent three months focusing on ventilation by incorporating the PowerPoint and video with in-station drills and an in-service training session where crews had the chance to work with chainsaws during a manipulative drill.

“We realized our recruits had learned one way to cut a hole in a roof and we realized when they got out in operations, that one way was restricting their ability to do other things,” said Clyons. “It was limiting what our personnel were doing when it came to ventilating a roof. So we wanted to teach our existing personnel multiple ways to do this. We wanted to raise the bar on our ability to use a saw and raise the bar on cutting holes. Our message was well received. I think it assisted people who were tactile learners, people who were visual learners, and people who were auditory learners. They all had a chance and it hit all the senses, so we definitely felt retention was better.”

There are literally hundreds of resources thanks to fire department file sharing in the repository and with such a powerful search engine, clients can usually locate the topics they are seeking. In fact, Community Resources has been nicknamed, Google on steroids for firefighters.

“The search engine is helpful if you go into it looking for a certain topic, like forcible entry, or something – you will find material in there,” said Wes Djuplin, who is a firefighter/instructor with the Kenosha Fire Department in Wisconsin.

With such a tremendous tool for finding material to help with teaching and keeping firefighters prepared for duty, clients are benefiting from TargetSolutions.

“Community Resources is a way for instructors to network and share information,” said Eddie Buchanan, who is the Past President of the International Society of Fire Service Instructors. “If there is a program they have done that they are proud of, they can put it out there for everyone to use. They can also look at what others have done for some help. It’s really a great way to share in a community setting. I think firefighters are just very resourceful and when something benefits them they’ll try to find a way to put it to good use.”

About TargetSolutions
TargetSolutions is the leading provider of web-based technology solutions for fire and EMS departments. These solutions enable departments to maintain compliance, reduce losses, deliver curriculum, and track all station-level tasks, certifications and training activities.