Technology with a Purpose

Archive for August, 2015

Situational Awareness Is a Trainable Skill for Firefighters

Firefighting Situational Awareness

This is the eighth tip from TargetSolutions’ special report, “Eight Great Tips for Training Your Crew,” a best practices guide. To view the entire report, please click here.

The past may predict the future, but that doesn’t mean firefighters can grow complacent. That’s dangerous. By instilling a culture of safety, personnel will have the right mindset. But how do you instill this culture? It may take time, but it’s possible through communication and training.

The first step is for leaders to promote safety from the top down. They need to make sure situational awareness is more than just words by walking the talk. Achieving successful outcomes during emergencies and remaining safe depends on an individual’s ability to interpret their environment through situational awareness. Simply put, firefighters need to be trained on what could go wrong.

Here are three critical areas to consider when creating a safety culture at your department:

360-Degree Size Ups: Make sure personnel know how to thoroughly conduct a 360-degree size-up during a fire. Make sure your department has a policy for the first arriving department to always conduct a size up. You would be surprised how many departments don’t demand this basic safety measure. The information gathered is critical to everyone’s safety. And during training, build a 360-degree size-up into every evolution.

Train for Safety: You have to crawl before you can walk and run. This is true for firefighter training as well. Making sure everyone has mastered basic movements of exercises before moving to advanced levels is critical to safety and effectiveness on the fireground. And just like anything else, firefighters get better with practice – so train your muscles by practicing proper techniques.

Put Your Life First: Yes, firefighters have taken an oath to protect their communities. But they need to make sure they don’t throw their life away in the process. As we all know, firefighting is an extremely dangerous job. But it can be performed with caution and sensibility. It’s important to know your own limitations. A building is replaceable. But lives are not replaceable. Too many firefighter deaths were preventable. It’s critical we understand what “no-go” conditions look like (building composition, smoke and fire conditions, etc.) and use caution.




White Paper: Why the Fire Service and Online Training Are a Perfect Match

Check out this SlideShare for a preview of TargetSolutions’ white paper on how the fire service is overcoming its aversion to innovative technology like online training. To download the full report, featuring detailed analysis, please click here.

When TargetSolutions was first founded in 1999, some in the fire service resisted online training. The idea of completing valuable firefighter training on the computer was a huge break from tradition, something many opposed.

But as time has gone on, attitudes have changed. Today, fire departments across the country find great value in online firefighter training tools for streamlining continuing education and compliance tasks. TargetSolutions’ innovative technology has proven to help organizations manage training more efficiently and effectively.

Check out TargetSolutions’ white paper to get the facts about online training and the fire service. This in-depth report breaks down how the fire service has evolved to utilize online training and other technology solutions, as well as important factors to consider when choosing an online training provider.


Introducing TargetSolutions’ All-New Reports Application – Now Available!

Check out this video for an overview of TargetSolutions’ recent enhancements to the Generate Reports application, as well as updates to the platform’s user interface.

If you’ve been waiting patiently for TargetSolutions’ enhanced reporting tool, your wait is over. On Aug. 26, TargetSolutions launched the upgraded version of Generate Reports, which features major enhancements for scheduling and sharing reports, as well as a sleeker platform interface.

TargetSolutions has also created support information, including this detailed help video and other resources inside the Help Center. If you have any questions about this application, please contact us today!

Get to Know Kelly Zielinski, TargetSolutions’ Business Unit Manager for the Strategic Risk Management Business Unit

Kelly Zielinski has called sunny San Diego her home since moving to America’s Finest City when she was 12 years old. Going to school for marketing and communications, she completed her degree at the University of Phoenix, while spending time at San Diego State University and Cal State Monterey Bay.

Prior to joining TargetSolutions more than four years ago, Kelly’s career began at NBC as a writer for newscasts. Kelly then spent seven years in account management business development with Worldwide Express where she worked her way up to National Director of Business Development.

When not in the office, you can probably find Kelly reveling in the great outdoors either on a scenic hike, in a kayak, or visiting one of San Diego’s beautiful beaches. Above all else, Kelly enjoys spending as much time as possible with her husband, Jason, and sons Van, 5, and Nolan, 4 months.

Here is a Q & A from a recent conversation with Kelly:

What is your favorite and least favorite food?

If I had to eat it consistently and take everything else off the menu, I’d pick Italian food. If I had to pick a dish, it’s pizza. I don’t think pizza ever sounds bad. My least favorite food is ribs. Any food that takes a really difficult amount of time to eat and consume – and is that messy – is too much.

Who is your hero or role model?

My mom. The challenge in life is always to find a balance in things; give to your family, give to your job, give to your community. I don’t know that I’ve ever met anybody who does a better job of it than her. She has a very important role at the Goodwill of San Diego County. She’s their executive vice president. She built that career after the kids were a bit older so she didn’t get an early start and she’s managed to do an amazing job. She finished her bachelor’s degree as an adult, in the mix with everything else she had going on. People have a deep respect for her and people who know her are better because of it. I think everything she touches, she makes better.

Who are your three favorite bands and/or singers?

Aerosmith, hairbands, early 90s rap (i.e. Straight Outta Compton crew), opera (Pavarotti). Any music that sounds good, regardless of genre, I like it! My playlist for this morning is a lot of Van Halen and Poison.

If you were on a desert island and could bring any three things with you, what would they be? (The island graciously provides water and food, and no other people are allowed)

A device to play music, a separate change of clothes, and my bed. I have a great bed.

What’s your favorite movie?

Primal Fear for sure. Hands down, the best movie! I love movies that you can’t figure out. I love movies where you don’t know about the twist and that one at the end when he’s sitting in the cell and Richard Gere turns around, it’s just great.

What’s your favorite saying?

From The Shawshank Redemption: “Hope is a good thing, maybe the best of things.”

TargetSolutions’ Water Industry Hydraulics Training Course Provides Engaging Overview

TargetSolutions’ Water Industry Hydraulics training course presents a comprehensive operational overview of the water treatment industry. This training course features nine learning modules and a 10-question exam.

Density and specific gravity, pressure and force, and piezometric surface and hydraulic grade lines are just a few of the cases water professionals will encounter on a daily basis. Therefore, maintaining a solid understanding of hydraulics is imperative for those working in the water industry.

TargetSolutions’ Water Industry Hydraulics course covers these topics, as well as overviewing the physics behind certain operational uses within the water treatment industry. The course provides a detailed examination of the subjects of head loss, pumping rates, and flow measuring devices.

After completing this course, students will be able to:

• Understand the concepts of pressure and force
• Interpret basic pump curve information
• Explain how to calculate flow rates and describe the devices used to measure flow rate

Please click here to learn more about TargetSolutions’ online training courses for water professionals or contact us at (800) 840-8048.

Terrorism Awareness 101: Training Firefighters to Identify Terrorism and Respond Effectively

Training Firefighters to Identify Terrorism

Ofer Lichtman of Rancho Cucamonga FDOfer Lichtman of Rancho Cucamonga Fire Department (Calif.) is an expert on numerous subjects impacting the fire service including Tactical Emergency Casualty Care (TECC) and terrorism awareness. A few months ago, Lichtman provided a comprehensive interview on TECC and is back now to answer more questions on terrorism awareness.



Why is it important for firefighters to go through terrorism awareness training? What is the goal of the training program?
It is important for firefighters to go through terrorism awareness training because our profession in the last 15 years has changed dramatically. To be truly an all-risk fire department we must be prepared to handle all situations, and in this case adequately prepare our personnel to recognize terrorism activity and be a part of the solution, not the problem. Firefighters are in a unique position in our community where we already maintain a high degree of situational awareness. This allows us to identify things that appear suspicious in a geographical area we already know best. In this day and age it is negligent for professional firefighters to not be able to recognize and respond to terror activities in their communities. If we are an all-risk fire department, then we better be when that time comes.

The goal is to educate and train firefighter personnel to identify indicators of terrorism and respond and mitigate terrorism acts in our communities. We have a Terrorism Liaison Officer (TLO) program which takes a fire department’s sworn employee, who serves as a conduit for information between firefighters, local law enforcement and to the federal government. The TLO’s will report tips and leads from the floor personnel to the Joint Regional Intelligence Center (JRIC) and will communicate back to the department and keep our staff and fire fighters aware of current threats facing our community or region.

How often do firefighters go through the terrorism awareness program? What are the different aspects of the program?
We train our personnel on an annual basis. We update them on all different trends that can affect our local region. Each of our personnel is trained initially once they are hired and then annually thereafter. The annual training is to update personnel on current trends going on in the area and region. Curriculum consists of domestic terrorism, international terrorism and single issue terrorist groups. We also focus on activity shown through home grown terrorism as well as lone wolf activity. Different aspects of the program consist of prevention level and the response/mitigation model. The firefighters are put through educational as well as active, hands-on training. The hands-on training happens multiple times a year in order to prepare for any type of terrorist act. It is important to understand that our terrorism training and education is based on suspicious activity. It is not based on a certain group of people, culture or religion, but solely on activity that is suspicious.

Read More Fire Blogs

Is this training required for all fire and EMS officials?
Yes, this training is mandatory for all firefighter personnel including refresher training. We are even employing basic awareness training for all city employees to learn about suspicious terrorism activity, what to do if you find yourself in a terrorist attack and how to treat yourself or co-worker from a preventable death injury involving hemorrhage control.

What are some of the most important aspects of the terrorism awareness program?
The most important aspect is to remember that as a professional fire department we must always remain vigilant and have a very high level of situational awareness. America is at war with different ideologies of people who want to hurt us and don’t agree with our way of life. The only way to increase our chance to prevent another 9/11 is to be vigilant and aware. When a small community has a disaster on a global scale it doesn’t seem as catastrophic, but if a small community loses a dozen people in a terrorist attack, that is very impactful for that community. It could happen anywhere, not just big cities. There is not just one specific profile of a terrorist. It could be anyone that has that ideology and will want to hurt us.

Do you lecture on this topic? If so, when will your next lecture be?
Yes, I do. I was at the next C-TECC meeting in San Marcos, Texas hosted by the ALERRT Conference on Nov. 1, 2015. I was also at the 2016 EMS Today Conference in Baltimore on Feb. 25, where I discussed the rescue task force model as well as ICS for the rescue task force.  

About the Author:
Ofer Lichtman started out as a first responder in Israel and is currently the Terrorism Liaison Officer Coordinator for Rancho Cucamonga Fire Department (Calif.). Lichtman was instrumental in developing its Terrorism and Tactical Response Program. Lichtman is a member of the Joint Terrorism Task Force and is on the advisory board of the C-TECC.

About the Department:
The Rancho Cucamonga Fire Department (Calif.) has had a TLO program since 2009. They have fully adopted the TLO curriculum and all the Joint Regional Intelligence Center’s recommendations for a TLO program. The department has a liaison to the FBI’s joint terrorism task force in the area and is a point of contact for multiple agencies in their county regarding terrorism activity reporting.

– Bio and photo of Ofer Lichtman are courtesy of


Ensure Safety with TargetSolutions’ School Fire and Life Safety Inspection Course

TargetSolutions’ School Fire and Life Safety Inspection training course presents inspectors with an overview of common hazards and violations typically found in schools. This one hour course features 14 learning modules and a 10-question exam.

Children and adults gather in schools for learning, sporting activities, and other community events. The prevention of fires and the ability to rapidly evacuate are important considerations when inspectors meet with school administrators to help find violations and report on corrective actions.

State laws require schools to stay up-to-date on inspections and enforce fire protection systems. TargetSolutions’ online safety training course, School Fire and Life Safety Inspection, provides employees with a specific overview of the inspection process, contrasts how historical fires have impacted current codes, and identifies common hazards as well as their accompanying solutions.

If you have any questions about TargetSolutions’ online course catalog, please contact us at (800) 840-8048.


Palm Coast Improves ISO Fire Department Rating with Perfect 100 Percent Training Score

By using TargetSolutions to track ISO training hours, Palm Coast was able to ace the training portion of its recent ISO review. The end result was a jump in overall rating from 4 to 2.

The City of Palm Coast Fire Department was in the same position as most agencies: Looking for a simple, efficient way to streamline EMS recertification when it turned to TargetSolutions in the fall of 2010.

What it received was something unexpected: A comprehensive tool for managing ISO training hours.

After a poor review in 2010, which saw the department register a 3.96 in the training category of its ISO review, the department was thrilled to learn TargetSolutions, brought in to assist with EMS continuing education, was actually going to be able to solve Palm Coast’s ISO challenges.

“Being able to document everything we do now is huge,” Training Officer Gary Potter said. “The documentation had always been the hardest part. We would have bits of information here, here, and here – but being able to put it all together and get everything on the same page with TargetSolutions was nice.”


Location: Palm Coast, Fla. | Population Served: 75K over 106-square miles

Operational Tempo: 8,700 calls each year | Employees: 90 personnel

The platform’s online firefighter training system, featuring a unique, one-of-a-kind tracking application for documenting ISO fire department training, helped Palm Coast overcome an issue many departments face: Accurate reporting of training hours. When ISO’s audit came in early 2015, the department’s first since 2010, the result was a perfect 100 percent performance for training credit and a jump in overall rating from 4 to 2.

“TargetSolutions has helped us log the information and put it in the format that is required by ISO,” said the department’s platform manager Leo Chumaceiro. “We were able to portray the training in a nice, neat format in a spreadsheet in the way they wanted to see it.”

After recognizing the platform’s full capabilities, the department took advantage of TargetSolutions’ outstanding customer service by working closely with the company’s support staff to fine-tune Palm Coast’s ISO Training Tracker.

“TargetSolutions really helped us customize this application for our needs,” Chumaceiro said. “There was a roadmap of how we need to present the information and we customized it for what we were doing. We tailored as much as we could and were able to meet ISO’s training requirements.”

Chumaceiro admits the Palm Coast was initially somewhat surprised by the multitude of possibilities available with TargetSolutions for streamlining fire department training and compliance. The department uses the system to deliver, track and report everything from online and offline training, including in-person group events, to compliance of SOGs, SOPs, licenses, EMS certifications, and much more, he said.

In fact, the fire department had such great success with TargetSolutions the City of Palm Coast has incorporated the tool for its city employees. The city is now using TargetSolutions to distribute online safety training, driver training, compliance tasks, and much more.

“The city’s needs were different than ours, but we recommended it to show how we are tracking training,” Chumaceiro said. “They have been using it for a year now for delivering training.

“TargetSolutions has really become a cornerstone of our department. We use TargetSolutions as a delivery tool to send out all types of things and it’s been very successful. We have spoken with other departments about how we are using it. We’re happy to share our success.”

Leo Chumaceiro, Platform Manager for Palm Coast Fire & Rescue (Fla.)

Please click here to download this department spotlight overview.

About TargetSolutions

TargetSolutions delivers cutting-edge software applications, engaging online training courses, and world-class customer service. The company was founded in 1999 and today thousands of organizations across the country use TargetSolutions’ innovative technology to solve their training challenges. For more information, please call 1 (800) 840-8048.


The Top 10 Online Training Courses for School Districts

TargetSolutions’ online safety training courses for school districts are created by subject experts, feature dynamic training videos, and are available online 24/7.

TargetSolutions features a comprehensive catalog of training for school districts, including more than 50 hours of educational course material designed to ensure a safer scholastic environment.

Here are TargetSolutions’ top 10 courses for school districts based on the total number of completions over the last year:

  • Reporting Abuse, Neglect, and Exploitation of Children
  • Sexual Harassment Awareness
  • Bloodborne Pathogens Safety
  • Avoiding Slips, Trips, and Falls
  • School Bullying
  • Ethics in the Workplace
  • Maintaining Professional Staff/Student Boundaries
  • FERPA: Protecting Student Privacy
  • Proper Lifting
  • General First Aid (Part 1)

If you have any questions about TargetSolutions’ online training management system for school districts, please contact us today at (800) 840-8048.


TargetSolutions to Launch New Look and Feel, More Powerful Reporting Capabilities in Late August

TargetSolutions’ all-new reports application will launch later this month featuring enhancements for scheduling and sharing reports, plus a new user interface. TargetSolutions will host an overview webinar on Thursday, Sept. 3 at 10 a.m.

In late August, TargetSolutions is scheduled to launch the all-new reports application. The comprehensive overhaul of the platform’s reporting tool, Generate Reports, as well as updates to the user interface, were designed to make TargetSolutions more intuitive, easy to use and effective.

The end result is more powerful capabilities for scheduling and sharing reports:

TargetSolutions’ online training management system will have a new look and feel in late August.

Scheduling Reports: The upgraded Generate Reports application will provide the ability to create automated reports, giving platform managers the ability to “set it and forget it,” said Product Manager Misty Pratt.

In the past, platform managers were required to create copies of old reports to re-run in the future. Now, with just a few clicks, reports can be automated to run at chosen intervals.

Sharing Reports: Inside Generate Reports, platform managers can now manually send a report from inside the platform to an e-mail address outside of TargetSolutions. This makes it possible to share reports with whomever you need – whether it be a regulatory agency, a different organization, or anyone else – with less hassle.

You can also share reports with other platform managers within the reports application. For instance, a platform manager can now set up an overdue assignments report and then share it with the department manager and the department manager will see it on their reports page.

Additional features include the ability to download report files in PDF, as well as CSV files, and set up automated e-mails that deliver direct links to reports, eliminating the need to log in, which saves time and simplifies the reviewing process.

“We’re very proud of these enhancements and we think clients will be proud of them too,” said Pratt. “The ability to schedule automated reports with this kind of detail is going to be a huge time saver for organizations that need to run regular reports. Now, they can set it and forget it.

“TargetSolutions is always striving to limit the amount of work platform managers need to do in the system. We want TargetSolutions to be working for you while you’re working on other things for your organization.”

New Look, New Feel: While the Generate Reports tool has undergone sweeping upgrades, platform managers and users alike will be impressed by TargetSolutions’ new look and feel.

It’s a subtle change to the platform’s classic user interface, but the system now features a flatter, sleeker design.

“We re-designed the platform for functionality,” said Pratt. “It’s a cleaner, more modern look and feel.”

TargetSolutions will host a reports overview webinar on Thursday, Sept. 3 at 10 a.m. Please click here to register for the upcoming webinar. If you have any questions, please contact us at