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Is It Time to Arm Our EMTs

Story by Tim Holman
Chief, German Township Fire & EMS

According to the department of labor, 52 percent of EMTs in the field have been assaulted. This statistic is even more alarming when we see the increase of ambushes on first responders. In recent years we have seen EMTs shot and killed while trying to perform emergency care. These incidents are increasing each year.

Due to media bias toward guns, the idea of arming EMTs for self-defense and protection will receive much scrutiny. But times are changing and civil unrest is increasing. More people are becoming desperate and more people resent figures of authority.

Some argue we should just wait for law enforcement to clear the scene before entering. Unfortunately law enforcement is experiencing staffing issues just like others in public safety. How will waiting 30 or 40 minutes to enter a home to treat a patient stand up in court? Many systems, when dispatched to a drug overdose, rely on law enforcement to clear the scene before entering. This is a wise and proactive approach for keeping our EMTs safe. But suppose you are called to such a scene and the patient is not breathing. You stage your unit away from the scene and wait for your local police. Unfortunately all their units are tied up and the ETA is 20 to 30 minutes. You wait and the patient dies. The family sues you because you made no attempt to determine if the scene was safe. They argue the patient was unresponsive and of no danger to anyone. Do you really think that a jury would rule in the favor of the EMS?

What about routine calls that deteriorate into violent situations? Retreat? And what if you do not have time? Is that just the risk associated with the job? No, that is unacceptable. Our constitution states we have a right to bear arms for personal protection. That right should not end just because you are now at work.

Some may argue there are many EMTs who should not be allowed to carry a gun. The same can be said about some law enforcement officials I know. No one can convince me we cannot train EMTs in tactical skills. We teach them to start IVs, intubate, deliver medications, and many other difficult tasks.

Why can’t we train them to carry a gun for protection? Not to arrest people. Not to be a cop, but to be able to enter a scene and clear it for safety.

In 2009 the FBI estimates that more than 2 million crimes were stopped by law-abiding citizens with concealed handguns. Of these it is estimated that fewer than 100 shots were fired.

Before arming EMTs they must be trained in tactical techniques in clearing a scene, carrying a gun in deep concealment, de-escalating a violent encounter and various other skills. And yes some may not be allowed to carry if they cannot qualify appropriately. At the very least we should consider arming at least on individual on each EMS crew.

There are some negative consequences in arming EMTs. Our image may change. Some people think guns are evil. Public education would be needed to combat this. Some advocate using deep concealment and not publicizing that EMTs are armed. Another drawback may be the liability insurance. Training and qualifying may help reduce this challenge.

By the way, if you are still thinking this is a crazy concept, consider several cities have already passed ordinances to allow EMTs to carry handguns while on duty. Another city in the west has made it policy that no EMS crew leaves the station without someone on the crew being armed. This policy originated after several of their female crews were dispatched on false calls to lure them into homes.

Most people will have very strong feelings about this concept. Talk about it. Think about it. Consider other options. But we must stop the senseless killings of EMTs trying to serve their communities.

About the Author
Tim Holman is a seminar speaker who has conducted programs throughout the United States. Holman speaks and trains on a variety of business, fire and EMS management and leadership issues. Holman specializes in providing fire and EMS officer development programs. Holman was the Fire Chief magazine “Fire Chief of the Year” for 2002.

Added Value Critical During Emergencies Brunacini Says

When Alan Brunacini starts talking about leadership, it’s good to listen closely. The retired chief from the Phoenix Fire Department is an authority on the topic and a large crowd gathered in February at the Firehouse World conference in San Diego for his seminar titled Added Value Leadership.

Brunacini, who offers a featured training series through TargetSolutions based on his popular book Functional Boss Behaviors, conducted a give and take discussion with the audience about what makes good and bad leadership, how leadership trickles down through an entire organization, and how departments can bring added value to the citizens they serve.

“Leadership starts at the topand its not what they say, but what they do,” Brunacini said. “Whatever you do as a leader, you teach.”

During one exchange with a firefighter in the audience, Brunacini made the point that citizens will strongly remember the first two minutes and last three minutes they spend with responders during emergencies.

“We have to be sober and salient 24/7, but we only have to be nice eight times a day for 20 minutes at a time. Thats mandatory,” Brunacinci said. “If you cant do that, just stay in the truck. It’s about the added value. Mrs. Smith is going to remember how she felt because of the effort we make to connect.”

Brunacini asked the audience how leaders can inspire their people to deliver added value during calls. After more give and take with the audience, Brunacini said leaders need to do the same thing with their workers that they are asking them to do with the public by connecting.

You do all the little things that’s what matters, he said.

Please click here for more information on Brunacini’s Functional Boss Behaviors through TargetSolutions, which outlines 10 rules for fire industry supervisors to ensure their behavior creates an environment focused on enhancing service and delivering value. Also, check out this blog article titled Learning to Be the Boss by Brunacini.

About TargetSolutions
TargetSolutions online training and records management system is the most effective way to enhance your departments training program. We are focused on helping organizations reduce costs, improve operational efficiency and maintain compliance. With cutting-edge technology and more than 700 courses in our library, we make training easy.

TargetSolutions Helps Neighboring Departments Collaborate, Standardize Training

In San Diego’s North County, the cities are close in proximity, but the fire departments are even closer. Check out this video to learn how they work together to train more efficiently.
  • This blog was updated on Wednesday, July 6, 2016

There are 15 departments in San Diego’s North County that have formed together to create the North Zone Training Group. The collaboration is an effort to meet each agency’s training needs through cooperative planning and preparation.

North-Zone-LogoTo achieve this mission with greater efficiency, the North Zone uses TargetSolutions, the industry’s leading computer-based training management system. The goal is to organize the mutual aid partners on an Enterprise site so they can synchronize training activities, share vital resources, and communicate effectively with each other and TargetSolutions.

“TargetSolutions is a common tool we all use and that has great value for us,” said Stuart Sprung of the Oceanside Fire Department. “We have common procedures and guidelines and TargetSolutions provides us with the platform to speak the same language. Each city is like its own network; having a place to come together and share resources just makes sense for all of us.”

North Zone Agencies
Camp Pendleton Fire Department | Carlsbad Fire Department | Deer Springs Fire Protection District | Encinitas Fire Department | Elfin Forest/Harmony Grove Fire Department | Escondido Fire Department | De Luz Volunteer Fire Department | Del Mar Fire Department | North County Fire Protection District | Oceanside Fire Department | San Marcos Fire Department | San Onofre Fire Department | Solana Beach Fire Department | Rancho Santa Fe Fire

The North Zone originally came together more than 20 years ago. A key factor being so many firefighters were coming through a local community college, creating a need to consolidate training techniques so new recruits had similar skills when performing mandatory job functions.

“When the Palomar College Fire Academy started back in 1990 and students were learning hose lays and other basic firefighting skills, we wanted them to come back to our agencies doing things the same way,” said Brett Van Wey, who serves as the chief for the San Marcos Fire Department.

The need to have firefighters working cohesively is what initially inspired the group to collaborate and that same need brought them together through TargetSolutions two decades later. TargetSolutions is a highly customizable system, so the departments worked together to utilize the platform and understand certain techniques for creating, delivering, tracking, reporting and sharing activities and resources.

“The training officers were looking to get all of our resources under one site,” said Van Wey. “We wanted to create an enterprise site under a joint deal. We’ve been collaborating together for quite awhile, and with all of us having moved to TargetSolutions, this opportunity to share resources and other policy-driven stuff in one centralized site was significant.

“Now, if we have a new policy or a new training manual section, we can put it on one website and everyone will have the ability to assign it out. This helps everybody in the North Zone get the same information without redundancy. We can build things one time and it will be there for all of us.”

About TargetSolutions
TargetSolutions online training and records management system is the most effective way to enhance your department’s training program. We are focused on helping organizations reduce costs, improve operational efficiency and maintain compliance. With cutting-edge technology and more than 1,000 courses in our library, we simplify training management.

How to Motivate Your People More Effectively

Conventional wisdom says there are two ways to motivate employees. The carrot and the stick. But the truth is there is a third way, a better way. By showering employees with respect and appreciation, you can earn their loyalty and greater productivity.

Blog by Peter Dove
President of the Shared Values Association

Much has been written about how to motivate people. Some people think there is some type of magic that if they could only access, they could zap a new power into people.

Sorry, but no.

There are various kinds of motivation. Coercive motivation for example can be quite effective. Do you remember this quote?

“You can make a horse sit up and deal cards, it’s just a matter of voltage.”

Col. Nathan Jessep, played by Jack Nicholson in ‘A Few Good Men’

Later in the movie, Jessep famously exclaimed, “you can’t handle the truth!”

The truth is this: People are only motivated by what they value. Yes, that might be money, or saving their skin, but people remain motivated exclusively by what they value.

You can coerce people into doing what you want. Threats, punishment, and the rest of the stick methods are often used. Restrictive motivation is another stick method and somewhat of a cousin to coercive motivation. You can restrict liberty, freedom, access to information, things, people, or opportunity, as punishment unless people do what is demanded.

On the more positive side, one can motivate by way of incentive or quid pro quo, which is “do this and I’ll give you that.” It really is sort of based on a bribe paradigm and the carrot-end of the carrot vs. the stick approach.

Offering a carrot or brandishing a stick will indeed get people to do things, but it is something difficult to sustain; and as Alfie Kohn demonstrates in his book “Punished by Rewards,” it does not work very well. People resist the stick and carrots become carrot cake, then steak and carrots. Entitlement sets in and people expect steak, carrots, peas, potatoes and fine wine! And yes, fine wine gets expensive.

But there is a better way, a third way. You can work to understand your people’s motives and align your behavior in a way to deliver what they want. This is sustainable. Again, people are only motivated by what they value.

The typical manager thinks they have only two kinds of power (carrot and stick) available to them. But the carrot and the stick are accessible because of their position. Do this or that because I’m the boss and I have a certain amount of authority over you, they say. A good example is automobile dealerships, which use coercive, restrictive and incentive methods to persuade sales people to sell cars. This does not make these dealers good or bad, it just makes them typical of how business is done.

What Is Referent Power?

Referent power is based on a third idea and the greatest of things: Love. I will do for you, not because I feel a threat, either explicit or implied. I will not do for you because of some reward. I behave, work at my best and carry a certain winning attitude because I respect and want to serve you. I do what I do because I want you, my boss to be proud of me. I execute my duties with care because I like the people I work with and want to contribute and not let them down. I behave as I do because what we do together has meaning.

Can you see how referent power is the most powerful? The trick of course is how to deliberately create this values-based referent power in your workplace. There is not enough space here to describe all that goes into building a shared-values work environment, however, here are three things you can do now.

1. Make it safe: Create a workplace where it is safe to tell the boss and co-workers the uncompromising truth, without fear of repercussion.

2. Give credit where credit is due: This is the easiest thing to do and you can start now. Most people are not told they are appreciated and why they are appreciated.

3. Make expectations clear: Unclear expectations are enormously de-motivating. Tell your people what is expected, by when, what a finished job looks like, what the failure and success paths are, what the resources are and then coach them on their way.

There are a number of other values that must be shared in the workplace in order to arrive at a credible referent power base – or what we call a Heroic Environment. But focusing on these first three steps can accomplish much. I wish you all the best on your journey.

About the Author
Peter Dove is a management consultant with a background in corporate culture design. He serves as the president of Shared Values Associates, Inc. In this position, he travels the U.S. speaking to groups on the importance of shared values in the workplace.

Lake County Fire Rescue Realizes Potential of TargetSolutions Online Training and Records Management System

Lake County Fire Rescue serves approximately 250,000 citizens across 1,200 unincorporated miles of Florida. The Division consists of nearly 200 dedicated, highly-trained professionals who take pride in helping people around the clock, every day of the year, the Division’s website states about its personnel.

The Division, which operates 23 fire stations throughout its rural and urban areas, responds to emergencies of all types. In 2011, the Division responded to 17,477 incidents, including emergencies and non-emergencies. To help prepare for those situations, the department relies on TargetSolutions online training and records management system.

Over the last two years, Lake County has completed more than 32,000 assignments, including web-based courses and customized department-specific activities, on the platform. TargetSolutions has become a critical component to the Division’s training program, said Training Section Lieutenant Kathy Edwards.

“It took us a little time to really use the program,” Edwards said. “We had to clean up our site from before. Once that was done, we began to understand its capabilities and started to make the most of it.”

With the platform now operating on all cylinders, the Division is ready for its upcoming ISO audit, as well as other critical day-to-day tracking activities. In addition to the increased efficiency, the Division is also experiencing cost savings with TargetSolutions.

“(TargetSolutions) has helped reduce overtime and other additional training expenses,” Edwards said.

To read the full story on how Lake County Fire Rescue is maximizing the TargetSolutions platform, please click here. And if you have any questions about TargetSolutions, please contact us at (800) 840-8048.

Save Money with Your Online Training Investment in TargetSolutions

In today’s world, fire departments have no choice but to watch their bottom line. When making an online training investment, they need to be confident they are making a prudent business decision.

TargetSolutions understands completely. That is why were absolutely dedicated to helping clients reduce costs and increase operational efficiency.

roi-calculator-image“Our goal is to deliver easy-to-use technology that can help an organization improve productivity and save money,” said TargetSolutions Vice President of Operations Thom Woodward. “With our platform, organizations can schedule training and monitor compliance 24 hours a day, seven days a week. Our training has proven to reduce injuries and claims, resulting in an excellent return on investment.”

TargetSolutions powerful, easy-to-use platform gives departments of all sizes and budgets the opportunity to save money while enhancing their training program. With TargetSolutions, you can schedule and deliver more than 250 hours of approved Fire and EMS online courses, while eliminating the costly administrative expenses associated with traditional training activities.

Here are some of the ways TargetSolutions helps you save money:

  • Reduces overtime associated with training activities
  • Eliminates costly travel and fuel expenses
  • Increases employees retention of training material and decreases work-related injury claims

TargetSolutions helps organizations maintain compliance and improve their personnel’s’ skill level, keeping emergency responders safe and productive. With TargetSolutions departments can take courses 24/7 and employees can train at their own pace, dramatically increasing comprehension.

Bottom line: TargetSolutions helps reduce injuries, increases productivity and saves money. But don’t just take our word for it. Here are some quotes from clients who are experiencing significant cost savings with TargetSolutions:

Stuart Sprung, Training Specialist for Oceanside Fire Department (Calif.)
“We’ve never done a cost-benefit analysis. But (TargetSolutions) is worth every penny. The best way I can put it, is that it’s the best money a department can spend per training hour logged.”

Eric Peterson, 2nd Lieutenant for Ocean City Fire Department (Fla.)
“TargetSolutions is convenient, cost effective, and easy to use. With it, we have decreased our training expenses and improved our ability to track all types of instruction.”

Michelle Schafer, Director of Support Services for Shasta County (Calif.)
“Our annual TargetSolutions cost is less than $25,000 and our return-on-investment exceeds $1 million. Now, that’s a no-brainer! The TargetSolutions product also goes a long way toward helping us comply with various mandated training requirements and avoiding costly penalties that could be charged if we did not provide training.”

Dino Batalis, Fire Chief, City of Lawrence Fire Department (Ind.)
“I don’t think you can put a value (on TargetSolutions). If these vehicles are able to stay in their districts, the response time is much quicker than having to travel from a central location. Cost savings? Definitely, but time, effort, support things that we can’t put a number on all the way to quicker response time to the people we serve.”

Rick Talbert, Fire Chief for South Walton Fire District (Fla.)
“As a cost savings measure, to be able to have (TargetSolutions) training and to be able to do it without having to travel great distances is to our advantage.

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.

Personal Protective Equipment: Back to the Basics

Blog by Brian Ward
Chief of Emergency Operations, Training Director for Georgia Pacific

How much do you know about your Personal Protective Equipment, specifically, your bunker gear? How well can you perform your job duties wearing the gear you have?

Understanding the basics of PPE and training in our gear are some key principles that will help us stay safe. The more information we know about how gear is properly put together, the safer we will be.

Several topics should be discussed when considering different types of gear. What may be good for one department in the northern part of the country may not be suitable for another department in the southern part or on the coast. It is important to point out that each of these topics is not mutually exclusive they all have an impact on each other:

>> Total Heat Loss is basically the breathability of gear. The higher the numerics, the better the firefighter’s body heat will dissipate. This could lead to cooling the core temperature of a firefighter and preventing such situations as heat stroke and over-exertion. According to NFPA 1971, a minimum of 205 watts per square meter must be met.

>> Thermal Protective Performance (TPP) represents how much conductive and radiant heat the gear will shield from a firefighter through all layers of the ensemble. At first thought, the higher the TPP rating, the better off a firefighter would be, however, this is not only false but also dangerous. As the TPP rating is increased, firefighters might be inclined to proceed further and envelop themselves in elevated temperatures where they should not be. In addition, the higher the TPP rating the lower the THL will be. It’s a trade-off.

>> CCHR was incorporated into the testing procedure as a method of examining the shoulder and knee areas of our PPE. This test is conducted with wet and dry gear at a starting temperature of 536 degrees, as a method of comparing the insulation provided by the PPE when it comes in contact with hot surfaces. According to NFPA 1971, it should take 25 seconds for the temperature of the opposite side of the gear to rise 43 degrees.

As you review gear, look at surrounding departments and examine the specifications they are using. Remember, there is no one perfect set of gear for every department. Choose the gear with the right combination for your department. In addition, no matter what gear you have, understand how it operates and know its limitations. Anyone can tie a knot, but can everyone tie a knot with gloves on, and correctly?

The only way to know these limits is to train and train often in a multitude of situations. Training for familiarization and in realistic environments will assist in developing these necessary skills.

Try this drill: Have a firefighter bunker out (pants and boots only) and blackout their SCBA mask. Take the remaining parts and spread them throughout the station in areas where they could obtain them by performing a primary search of the structure. Place the items so that the firefighters have to build their ensemble as they complete the search. This drill is simple, non-hazardous, and will assist in familiarization with their equipment. In the end the firefighter should be breathing air and dressed as if they were entering a burning building. Make sure that the gloves are the first item they come to and that everything is completed without the removal of their mask.

Train hard, take care and be safe.

About the Author
Brian Ward is chief of emergency operations and training director for Georgia Pacific in Madison (Ga.). He is a past training officer for Gwinnett County (Ga.), chairman of the Metro Atlanta Training Officers and currently serves on the Honeywell Advisory Council.

TargetSolutions Hosts User Group in San Diego Giving Clients Opportunity to Provide Feedback on Training

TargetSolutions realizes its ascension to becoming the industry’s leading provider of web-based training and records management services would not have been possible without some very important contributions. More specifically, the contributions of its customers.

“We are incredibly grateful to the clients who have helped us through the years understand what our platform is striving to deliver,” says Alex Day, who is TargetSolutions’ director of information technology and has been with the company for a large chunk of its 12-year history. “Without them, our platform wouldn’t be where it is today.”

That’s why Day and the rest of TargetSolutions were thrilled to host a user group at the downtown San Diego Marriott on Feb. 22 during the Firehouse World expo. TargetSolutions gathered more than 50 clients to learn tips and tricks and offer feedback to the company’s technology and client services departments.

“We want you to challenge us and tell us what we need to do to make our system better,” TargetSolutions’ CEO Jon Handy said during the events introductions. We owe it to you to do everything possible to make our platform the very best it can be. We’re proud to be able to serve you and we are absolutely committed to providing the best platform on the market today.

With standing room only, attendees enjoyed a demonstration of the platforms newly upgraded interface, a sneak-peek of several soon-to-be-released applications and a constructive question-and-answer session. Client service representatives were also in attendance and covered questions on implementing videos into content, setting alert notifications and utilizing previously-made custom activities.

“This is the second time I’ve attended a user group and its really a tremendous opportunity,” said Mike Bilheimer, who manages 165 users on the system as the division chief for San Bernardino City Fire Department. “TargetSolutions puts this together to help us improve on how we use the software. I really enjoy being a part of it and learning about the platform.”

Tony Hernandez, who serves as the training captain for Cal Fire San Diego, was impressed with the new California Incident Command Certification System application, which is scheduled to be released later this year. The tool combines Activities Builder with Credentials Manager to effectively report CICCS Red Card status.

“The new CICCS app is very useful,” Hernandez said. “Cal Fire is one of the main players in wildland credentials, so it’s a step in the right direction.The user group has been informative. As a training officer, I’m always looking for ways to better utilize the product.”

Some of the attendees came to the event to learn how their peers are utilizing the system, which is the industry’s most robust online training, recordkeeping and compliance solution for public entities.

“It’s a great opportunity to network and see what other people are doing with TargetSolutions,” said Christine Boozer, who is the civilian training officer for the City of Fresno Fire Department. “TargetSolutions is really willing to listen to us and that’s great.”

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.

Municipal Emergency Services Chooses TargetSolutions as Provider for Online Training and Records Management Services

TargetSolutions, the U.S. leader in online training and records management solutions for municipalities including Fire, EMS, Police and other public entities, has joined forces with Municipal Emergency Services to deliver the industrys leading web-based platform to the Fire and EMS community. The agreement to work together was announced Tuesday, Feb. 22 during the Firehouse World conference in San Diego.

MES is the largest supplier of first responder equipment, including Globe Manufacturing personal protective equipment, Honeywell First Responder Products, Scott Air-Paks, and much more, for first responders in North America. “The decision to include TargetSolutions to MES impressive lineup of products made total sense,” said MES Vice President of Sales and Marketing John Skaryak.

“We chose to partner with TargetSolutions because it is the pioneer in web-based solutions,” Skaryak said. “We are confident TargetSolutions will provide the best solution for our EMS, Fire and First Responder customers.”

MES, which has done business with more than 20,000 fire departments during its 11-year history, will undoubtedly increase TargetSolutions’ visibility with fire departments across the country.

“This is a great opportunity for us,” said TargetSolutions Vice President of Sales and Marketing Jon Kostyzak. “MES has coverage across the United States and this will take TargetSolutions exposure to a new level. We appreciate the confidence of the decision for Municipal Emergency Services chooses TargetSolutions. MES knows we deliver operational efficiency and cost savings to our clients. There is a great synergy in our ability to provide a valuable service and MES ability to reach fire departments across the country.”

Skaryak said MES looked at the overall landscape of the online training and records management industry and determined TargetSolutions was the clear choice to distribute to its customers.

“We chose TargetSolutions because our philosophy is to promote the top brands,” Skaryak said. “It’s important to us that we only promote products that represent a clear value to our customers. TargetSolutions is a tremendous option for first responders who are looking to train, track and report with a web-based solution.”

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.

TargetSolutions Excited to Team Up With Southeastern Association of Fire Chiefs

The Southeastern Association of Fire Chiefs has teamed up with TargetSolutions to provide its members with access to the industry’s leading online training and records management system.

The SEAFC will soon make TargetSolutions available to its members, providing them with user-level access to training resources from departments across the country. The SEAFC will have the ability to create and deliver training activities and other communications through the system, as well as store resources in a password-protected online location.

“We are extremely excited about this partnership,” said Jeff Oathout, who is TargetSolutions regional manager for the southeast. “We appreciate the confidence the SEAFC has shown in us and we are excited to be able to show its members our platforms capabilities.”

TargetSolutions was founded in 1999 and has grown into the industry’s leader in web-based training services for the fire service. The company strives to deliver easy-to-use technology that can help departments improve productivity and save money. With TargetSolutions, departments are able to schedule training and monitor compliance 24 hours a day, seven days week.

“We are happy about the opportunity to work with the SEAFC,” said Jennifer Antinone, who will serve as the SEAFC’s account manager. “We want to make this experience beneficial to everyone. We feel our platform makes life easier for users and l look forward to helping the SEAFC’s members as they learn what the platform can provide.”

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.