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How One EMS Agency in Pennsylvania Has Taken Its Training Program to a New Level

By Utilizing TargetSolutions, Holy Spirit EMS Is Able to Save Money, Streamline Training Efficiencies

cb-holy-spirit-ems-logoEmergency responders and the organizations they work for in the state of Pennsylvania are facing new challenges in how to meet EMS continuing education requirements. The previously utilized PA Prepared Online Learning System is no longer available. The state is now using a different computer-based system for free public health training.

One particular agency decided long ago, however, that just achieving compliance with the minimum training standards wasn’t enough. Holy Spirit EMS, located in five counties and formerly known as West Shore EMS, has been using TargetSolutions since 2002 for a reason.

“Some might ask why pay for something if you don’t have to? The reason is that TargetSolutions, for us, was actually much more economical to use,” said the agency’s Director of Staff Development Steve Poffenberger. “A huge thing for us is the availability of hazmat courses. There was no other online opportunity that could provide that refresher training. To have to provide that training in a classroom format would be very difficult and costly with the overtime and all of the things that are associated with that.”

“If we call something mandatory, then it’s on our time, not their time. If it wasn’t mandatory it would be on them, but we require hazmat training. Doing it through the TargetSolutions platform via an online solution was actually economical for us.”

Steve Poffenberger, Holy Spirit EMS

In addition to the industry’s most robust catalog featuring more than 450 hours of training for fire departments, which includes the Advanced HAZWOPER training series that Poffenberger cited as a huge reason for choosing TargetSolutions, the platform also offers valuable OSHA safety training, EVO driver training, and HR harassment training. And that’s just the beginning. TargetSolutions’ powerful records management system for tracking and reporting training and compliance tasks, has been huge for Holy Spirit EMS, Poffenberger said.

“The reporting piece was also a differentiator; the ability to see who did the training,” Poffenberger said. “The fact that it was all online and in combination with those other economic reasons, it makes sense for us.”

Some emergency response organizations have relied on the PA Prepared Online Learning System in the past and are just now considering the benefits of implementing and managing their own online solution. That strategic decision can feel daunting for an agency that is accustomed to completing training the old-fashioned way.

cb-hazardous-materials-cta“Some agencies are still old school in regards to education: four walls and a desk, period! But some things can be accomplished online more efficiently,” said Poffenberger, whose agency employs nearly 200 emergency responders and runs approximately 30,000 calls each year.

“Like in the case with hazmat training; the state doesn’t specify which hazmat level is required for EMS, but we make that a priority and by doing it online we can stay in tune with what’s needed.

“A couple agencies have asked me how we track all of our certifications and I’ve shared the information about TargetSolutions. There are plenty of agencies still tracking with an excel spreadsheet. But we’re bigger than a lot of other agencies. If you have 20 employees on a spreadsheet, then sure. Having to track that many people is not all that time consuming, but with a much larger set of employees it is much more challenging to keep track.”

At the end of the day, moving to a cutting-edge, comprehensive training management tool like TargetSolutions is about doing more than just completing the mandatory training requirements. It’s about efficiently delivering continuing education and pre-training prior to hands-on assignments. It’s about tracking all types of compliance, from policies to licenses and certifications. It’s about making sure every single hour of training is documented and reported.

“It is becoming extremely important to be able to track and report your agency’s compliance and regulatory standards,” Poffenberger said. “To be able to provide reporting on provider certifications upon request from a reimbursement entity is a must-have for any agency. An agency’s failure to comply with these standards could result in penalties or fines.”

Fortunately, TargetSolutions is here to help make training compliance more efficient and effective. If you would like more information on how your agency can benefit from TargetSolutions, please contact us today at (800) 840-8046.

Meet the Team: Get to Know Account Manager Rachel Bark

rachel-bark-imageOriginally a member of CentreLearn’s customer support team, Rachel Bark is now serving as an account manager with TargetSolutions.

Having first joined the organization in August of 2013, Rachel has learned all about public safety agencies and how to help them achieve their training goals. Now, with a few years’ experience, she is focused on helping customers in the Northeast maximize TargetSolutions’ training platforms.

“I get to help people every day and I’m part of a fantastic team,” said Rachel, who is originally from Perry, N.Y.

Before joining the organization, Rachel delivered technical support for accounting software and was a teacher for children with disabilities. Rachel is a graduate of SUNY Plattsburgh with a B.S. in Childhood and Special Education.

Check out this Q-and-A to learn more about Rachel Bark:

Favorite movie?
Monty Python and the Holy Grail

Favorite band?
Black Veil Brides

Best vacation spot?
The Adirondacks

Chocolate or vanilla?
Chocolate

Favorite sports team?
Football = Bills
Baseball = Mets
Hockey = Sabres

Do you have a nickname?
“Rach,” I guess …

Newspaper or Internet?
Internet

You just won the lottery – what do you do?
Pay off my school loans; then buy a house in New York (either in western New York or up near Lake Champlain)

Three fun facts about Rachel?
1) I’ve lived in three states the last four years (Nebraska, New York, and Pennsylvania)
2) I’m left-handed
3) And I can play the piano, trombone, and clarinet

TargetSolutions Launches LGBT Student Rights Course for Educators

This brand new course analyzes how an educator can serve as an ally while protecting the needs and rights of LGBT students.

A student’s education isn’t just obtained from books and lectures in a classroom environment. Shared experiences and mentorship provided by teachers can play a key role in a student’s growth. That’s why educators can serve as important support figures for LGBT students.

With that in mind, TargetSolutions is proud to announce the release of its new training course for School Districts, “Introduction to Understanding the Rights of LGBT Students.”

This 30-minute course delivers a brief history of the LGBT movement in the United States, the struggles routinely undertaken by LGBT students, and what a school district’s personnel can do to help.

“Introduction to Understanding the Rights of LGBT Students is an integral course for educators,” said TargetSolutions’ Client Services Manager Jennifer Jones. “LGBT students may be undergoing daily bouts of anxiety, depression, and bullying. This course will help educators better understand these struggles and create a safe and supportive environment.”

The all-new course features in-depth lessons focused on teaching educators how to create a safer environment for LGBT students. Objectives of this course include:

  • Identifying and analyzing your own belief system
  • Familiarizing yourself with a glossary of LGBT-related terms
  • Describing what an ally is and how to become one
  • Explaining common struggles LGBT students face

For more information on TargetSolutions’ online training catalog for School Districts, please contact us today at (800) 840-8048.

TargetSolutions Makes Enhancements to My Credentials’ User Interface

TargetSolutions has made it easier for users to gauge their own progress inside of a Credential. Improvements to the interface provide users with a more comprehensive overview of their training progress.

The Manage Credentials application inside TargetSolutions’ online training management system is known for helping platform managers track training. Recent upgrades make it even better for users, as well.

The View Credentials page inside My Credentials has always been where users go to determine what training items are still available and required inside a Credential’s various categories. That user-experience just became even better.tslogo_symbol-color

TargetSolutions has taken steps to make it easier for users to gauge their own progress inside of a Credential. Major improvements to the Credential Detail page’s interface provide users with a better scorecard and graphical representation of what training remains incomplete.

“It’s easier now for users to see how many hours are applying and to which topics,” said Product Manager Misty Pratt. “All it takes is a quick glance for a user to determine their own status and what percentage is completed. The page is more organized, easier to understand, and best of all, requires less math to determine remaining hours needed in a certain training topic. That’s something everyone will appreciate.”

Platform managers can now trust that users are being given clear information as to what training courses inside a Credential can be taken for credit in any training topic.

The application features a search bar to instantly find specific areas of training inside a Credential. It also makes it possible to filter “All” assignments, “Completed” assignments, and “Training That Applies.”

“Manage Credentials is an incredibly powerful application that helps agencies bundle training and compliance tasks together in a comprehensive way. Now, users will have a better experience navigating their way through the Credential Detail Page.”

Misty Pratt, Product Manager

In addition to upgrading the Credential Detail Page interface, Administrators and some Supervisors may notice the new Record Completions menu selection at the bottom of the left navigation bar on the home page. This is a quick link to the Record Completions application. It has been made available to Administrators and to any Supervisor with access to the Record Completions application.

To learn more about enhancements to the Credentials application, please visit our Help Section.

Recent Webcasts Provide Public Safety Leaders with Valuable Lessons on Key Training Areas

cb-webinar-promo-fe-1TargetSolutions is always looking for new ways to provide the fire service with engaging training material. Over the last couple months, TargetSolutions had the opportunity to do exactly that by sponsoring three different webcasts for public safety leaders.

The first presentation, hosted on Aug. 25 by FireEngineering.com, was titled “Firefighter Training Programs: A New Approach.” This webcast conducted by Lt. Robert Finger Jr. of the Manlius Fire Department (N.Y.) and Fire Engineering’s editor Peter Prochillo, dived into how fire departments are approaching their training in these hectic times.

Finger outlined how fire department members struggle to find enough time to complete all of the various training activities and offered tips for maximizing performance.

To download a recorded version of this webcast from FireEngineering.com, please click here.


cb-webinar-promo-fh-2The second webcast, hosted by Firehouse.com on Sept. 21, was titled “Turning Your Fire Data into Knowledge.” This webcast, built to help fire departments identify and locate their target hazard areas and increase fire and life safety education outreach, was presented by Fire Chief Robert Isbell of the City of Midland in Texas.

Isbell, who has been in the fire service for 33 years and has a master’s degree in executive leadership, discussed how once departments determine what neighborhoods and communities need extra assistance, they can use that information to develop a strategy to decrease fire and injury losses.

To download a recorded version of this webcast from Firehouse.com, please click here.


cb-webinar-promo-cp-3The third webcast, titled “De-Escalation for Public Safety,” was conducted on Sept. 29 by CalibrePress.com. Jim Glennon, a former Lieutenant in law enforcement, covered the importance of officers, EMTs, firefighters – everyone in public safety – to learn how to develop rapport and initiate calmative tactics with potentially illogical, irrational individuals.

The webcast explained how no two situations are training for a “cookie cutter” response for every incident is not always feasible. Understanding human beings in crisis, what they want and the commonalities of stress is where success begins. The webcast addressed realistic, simple and immediately applicable skill sets designed to work on the street.

To watch a recorded version of this webcast from Calibre Press, please click here.

Community Resources Features Videos on Stress Management for Emergency Responders

“Stress Management for Emergency Responders” is a video series created by the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention available inside Community Resources. The videos examine the ramifications of stress for emergency responders and various coping strategies.

“Stress Management for Emergency Responders” is a video series created by the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention available inside Community Resources. The videos examine the ramifications of stress for emergency responders and various coping strategies.

Stress is an inevitable part of working in emergency response. With exposure to unthinkable atrocities, even the most seasoned first responders will feel varying levels of anxiety. While this is a normal response to physical or emotional hardships, managing it presents new challenges.

This month’s featured item inside Community Resources tackles that exact issue.

Geared toward individuals and agencies working in various crisis settings, “Stress Management for Emergency Responders” from the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention is a series of videos that highlight the sources of stress and what individuals, team leaders, and agency management can do to manage it. Practical guidance is given on how to reduce stress and lessen its negative impact.

“This is one of the many valuable resources inside Community Resources,” said Product Manager Misty Pratt. “This particular video series discusses stress management for emergency responders, which is an important topic in the fire service.”

The series of videos have combined to receive more than 400 views. If your organization has access to TargetSolutions and you would like to view these videos, and other related topics, please search for “Stress Management for Emergency Responders” under the Community Resources tab.

If you have any questions about the Community Resources application, please contact us today at (800) 840-8048.

Master the Components of ICS with TargetSolutions’ All-New EMS Training Course

TargetSolutions recently launched a brand new EMS training course for continuing education. Incident Command System features dynamic lessons throughout its in-depth 60-minute overview.

TargetSolutions is excited to announce the release of Incident Command System, an all-new online training course for EMS continuing education. The visually impressive course features in-depth information and an audio narration track to engage users.

The new training comes equipped with 12 learning modules and a 10-question exam.

“Established by emergency management professionals as a way to create leadership during emergencies, this course brings the essentials of ICS straight to your fingertips,” said TargetSolutions Director of Content Lauren Crosby. “This is an exciting course for EMS professionals because it’s such an important area of focus. We’re thrilled to make it available for those seeking EMS continuing education.”

ICS is utilized nationally and internationally and mandated by the U.S. Federal Government through the National Incident Management System (NIMS) at all levels of government, including public, private, and non-governmental organizations. Any department that could be involved in responding to a mass-casualty and/or multiple-agency response would benefit from this course.

Objectives of this course include:

  • Exploring the components of the incident management system
  • Identifying the responsibilities and functions of various staff positions
  • Recognizing the importance of establishing a medical branch/group at a mass casualty event
  • Describing strike team, task force, and unit

Please note, TargetSolutions’ new Incident Command System training course is not yet accepted for continuing education in Alabama. And the version created to comply with the Commission on Accreditation for Pre-Hospital Continuing Education is not yet approved in Virginia and for EMTs in the state of New Jersey.

For more information on this course or other courses in TargetSolutions’ online training catalog, please contact us at (800) 840-8048.

Prevent Liability at Your School with TargetSolutions’ ‘Food Safety’ Training Course

TargetSolutions’ Food Safety, Foodborne Illness and Kitchen Sanitation training covers topics designed to reduce your school district’s liability. To promote a more engaging experience, a brand new voiceover narration track has been added to the course.

More than 50 million students eat in schools across the country every day. That’s more than 50 million opportunities for a foodborne illness to mobilize.

Infection can come due to poor preparation, contamination, and a lack of hygiene. These incidents can trigger symptoms ranging from mild discomfort, chronic illness, and even death.

TargetSolutions’ Food Safety, Foodborne Illness and Kitchen Sanitation is an important online training course for school district’s looking to reduce liability. The recently enhanced 60-minute overview explores the importance of proper food preparation and handling, as well as the legal responsibilities harbored to every school and employee.

The reality is these sanctions are designed to not just protect students across the country, but the employees as well. Objectives of this course include:

  • Listing common foodborne illnesses
  • The importance and required components of a food safety program
  • Food labeling information
  • Ensuring safe delivery of food items
  • Proper cleaning and sanitizing

This training course has 13 learning modules and a 10-question exam. If you have any questions about TargetSolutions’ online training catalog, please contact us today at (800) 840-8048.

Meet the Team: Client Services Representative Robin Scott

cb-robin-meet-teamSan Diego native Robin Scott is one of TargetSolutions’ newest members in the Client Services department. Robin began working here as a client services representative in April of 2016 and has been a great fit since Day 1.

Since joining the team, Robin has focused on providing customers with support via phone, e-mail and live chat. Clients contact TargetSolutions on various issues, including help logging in, assistance with the platform’s applications, and much more. When they call, Robin is here to help.

“It’s a great feeling when you know you’ve helped someone and they get it. I love to hear the happiness in their voice. It’s priceless!”

Robin Scott, TargetSolutions’ Client Services Representative

When Robin isn’t working, she likes to shop, decorate, and think about where she would like to travel next. Check out this rapid-fire style Q-and-A to learn more about Robin Scott:

Favorite season?

Toss up between Spring and Fall

Favorite food?

Cake, does that count? : )

Favorite musical artist?

Luther Vandross and Barbra Streisand

Best concert you’ve ever been to?

Ashford and Simpson … front row they sang to me!

Biggest adventure you’ve ever been on?

Life … still on it

Favorite sport?

Boxing … I know, right? But boxing back in the days of Sugar Ray Leonard, Tommy Hearns, and Mike Tyson

Favorite sports team?

Venice and Serena when playing doubles

If you had to have one food for the rest of your life, what would it be?

Pizza

Fruit or veggies?

Equally

Where would you go on a dream vacation?

Any place a yacht could take me: Alaska, Greece, Hawaii, Africa

Dogs or cats?

Dogs, German Shepherds, especially

Favorite movie?

Imitation of Life from 1959 starring Lana Turner

Movies or museum?

Both!

Favorite state in the country?

California, of course!

Other than German Shepherds, what is your favorite animal?

Lions … They are majestic, powerful, beautiful

TargetSolutions’ NFPA 1001 Ground Ladders Training Breaks Down Best Practices for Fire Operations

TargetSolutions’ Ground Ladders training course, which is part of the NFPA 1001 series, has undergone interactive updates to promote an engaging learning experience.

Serving as a vital component during rescue operations, the ladder is one of the defining symbols of the fire service. That’s why TargetSolutions’ Ground Ladders from the NFPA 1001 series of online firefighter training courses, is such a valuable lesson.

Equipped with new upgrades, including revitalized content and interactions, this course delivers key components of ground ladders and the purposes they serve during various fire operations. After all, it is critical for fire department personnel to be knowledgeable in the design, characteristics, and proper use of fire department ladders.

This course highlights the types of ladders used in fire operations, how to maintain those ladders, and how to safely carry and place ladders. The course discusses fireground safety best practices, as well as the rationale behind ladder failure due to metal fatigue and heat exposure.

Upon completion of this course, you will be able to:

  • Identify the relevant terminology associated with fire department ladders
  • List the types of ladders used in fire and rescue operations
  • Recognize all the important safety considerations when using ladders
  • Recall how to inspect and maintain fire department ladders
  • Select the appropriate ladder for a job

This training course has 10 learning modules and a 10-question exam. If you have any questions about this course, please contact us today at (800) 840-8048.