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Activities Builder Helps Organizations Deliver Custom Content, Track Training Hours

TargetSolutions is committed to providing our clients with tools to make training a comprehensive and seamless process. We firmly believe that effective communication is the key to achieving this goal. One tool that enables stronger communication is the Activities Builder.

Activities Builder is one of our most popular applications because it allows organizations to deliver custom content and track training hours. Working in conjunction with the File Center and the Community Resources page, administrators can incorporate custom content such as instructional or inspirational videos, organization-specific content, policies and SOGs into training assignments.

Administrators can then ensure user accountability through e-signatures and activity validation options. A visit to the Generate Reports application will allow administrators to track the training through reports, providing them with a paperless-paper trail.

If you are still learning the ropes of how to better incorporate activities into your training program and have any questions for TargetSolutions, please check the Help section inside the platform and search “Activities Builder.” And don’t hesitate to contact your account manager. We are here to help you make the most out of your TargetSolutions platform. We can be reached at 800.840.8048.

TargetSolutions Is Updating Health and Safety Courses to Meet New GHS Standard

The Globally Harmonized System (GHS) of Classification and Labeling of Chemicals is a worldwide initiative to promote standard criteria for classifying chemicals according to their health, physical and environmental hazards.

It was developed by the United Nations because systems already in place worldwide create multiple classifications and inconsistent protection for those potentially exposed to the chemicals, as well as creating extensive regulatory burdens on companies producing chemicals.

The GHS itself is not a regulation or a standard. It is simply a document that establishes agreed hazard classification and communication provisions with information on how to apply the system.

The GHS uses pictograms, hazard statements, and the signal words “Danger” and “Warning” to communicate hazard information on product labels and safety data sheets in a logical and comprehensive way. The primary goal of GHS is better protection of human health and the environment by providing chemical users and handlers with enhanced and consistent information on chemical hazards.

While updating the TargetSolutions library to the new hazard classification system will be a large task, it will affect 26 of our courses, we understand the importance and are in the process of making the changes. The updates to our health and safety training courses, including Right to Know (Hazard Communication), Advanced HAZWOPER Awareness, HAZMAT Spill and Prevention and Control, and HAZMAT Transporation, are scheduled to be completed in 2013.

For more information on the GHS, please visit its website.

Please Join TargetSolutions and Donate to Victims of Hurricane Sandy

It has been more than a week since tragedy struck our country. As Hurricane Sandy ripped through our coastline, it stopped at nothing, flooding the streets of businesses, neighborhoods, and communities.

Despite preparations, no one and nothing was left untouched by this vicious storm. With those affected spanning from Vermont to Virginia, many were left in ruins – especially those hit hardest in New Jersey and New York. With homes and businesses completely leveled, many were left exhausted and hungry.

The aftermath of this disaster has tested our country’s brave first responders and everyone from coast-to-coast owes them a debt of gratitude for stepping up during these challenging times.

Here at TargetSolutions, our hearts go out to all who were and continue to be affected by this unimaginable disaster. Please help us in supporting the victims of this disaster by providing aid to those in grave need.

Workplace

‘Phenomenal’ Recordkeeping Tools Make Training Management Easier for Haines City Fire & Rescue

Like all fire departments, Haines City Fire & Rescue is looking to achieve total excellence in its daily operations. The department is continuously striving to improve so it can better serve the growing community of more than 38,000 citizens (during winter) in Haines City, Fla. With two stations and 30 personnel members – doing more with less is a philosophy the department has learned to accept.

But in order for the department to reach its optimum efficiency, Capt. Kim Miller must ensure each individual is properly trained and that all of the departments records are up to date and well organized.

Maintaining an accurate training file for each individual without a powerful system like TargetSolutions hinders the efficiency of any department. Miller knows as well as anybody how difficult and time-consuming it is to manually track training records.

“In the past, I had to check with each individual daily to get their training information and manually enter it into a spreadsheet. The process was extremely time-consuming,” Miller said. “That method of tracking individual training also makes it difficult to ensure that the reports are completely accurate.”

The department needed a solution that would put an end to yesteryears time-consuming and outdated system of manual recordkeeping. With the implementation of TargetSolutions in 2010, Haines City Fire & Rescue found its answer – transforming a once inefficient process into one of the department’s greatest strengths.

“The recordkeeping is absolutely phenomenal,” said Miller. “The accuracy and simplicity of TargetSolutions is outstanding.”

Managing records has never been easier for Capt. Miller, who feels confident the utilization of TargetSolutions will enhance the departments ISO rating whenever its next audit is conducted. Miller has already seen the benefits TargetSolutions offers with an easy-to-use application for tracking training specifically created for ISO purposes.

“It will definitely improve our ISO rating,” Miller said. “It only takes 10 minutes to generate reports for every shift captain to let them know exactly what they need to do for ISO by the end of the year. The speed is amazing.”

Haines City Fire & Rescue is not only benefiting from TargetSolutions by efficiently managing records – it also extensively uses the platform and more than 250 hours of Fire and EMS recertification courses to provide online training for personnel.

“We get so much training,” said Miller. “We assign at least six TargetSolutions courses every month. I call it ‘free training’ because the records management aspect of the platform alone is worth the price. All of the training that comes with it is a bonus.”

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

TargetSolutions Delivers Tools to Meet ARFF Requirements

Did you know with TargetSolutions you can track ARFF training data and hour accumulation, plus deliver the FAAs Aircraft Rescue and Fire Fighting Training DVD? TargetSolutions powerful training management system makes it possible by providing access to customizable activities on topics that have been recommended by the FAA.

In addition, previously complicated reports have been simplified so you can easily check the progression of hours for all ARFF personnel.

We really impressed the FAA with our training records, said Marc Sanangelo of Naples Fire Department in Florida. Someone with the FAA actually told one of our neighboring departments they may want to look at what Naples is doing to create quality records. That was a great compliment us and to TargetSolutions.

You can track training hour accumulation through TargetSolutions Manage Credentials application. The credential will track training hours on all ARFF subjects. Then run reports to check the progression of hours for all ARFF personnel.

Controlling the Door During Fire Suppression Should Not Be Overlooked

Blog by Jason Hoevelmann
Deputy Chief/Fire Marshal with Sullivan Fire Protection District

We were the second truck on the scene for a fire in a neighboring jurisdiction. The first truck was training on the other side of the district, so it was only a few seconds ahead of us. It was a single family home with a basement. The first company reported heavy fire and smoke. They were pulling a pre-connect hose.

As we moved past the first engine we were directed to catch the plug. While grabbing a tool and moving toward the front door where the first company had already made entry, I noticed their attack line was flat and the front screen door was closed on top of it. They had no water.

This scenario is not uncommon. One quick remedy is to secure the front door open, which is what happened. There was no delay in getting the attack crew water. But attack teams need to ensure before making entry to control the doors that could impede our progress and egress.

Controlling the door has many applications in firefighting operations and can complicate our tactics and progress. It’s imperative that we maintain control of the doors at all times and understand how to do so. It’s not just during forcible entry that we must control these means of access; it’s during all firefighting operations. This task is paramount for our safety and victims who may be trapped.

Whether we are in a single family home or a high-rise apartment building, it’s important to use doors to our advantage. In many cases, it’s as easy as just closing the door for protection. In other instances, we need to prop doors open for the advancement of hose lines and paths of egress. It’s up to us to be familiar with the when and how.

During search operations, especially during VES, we must use the door as protection from heat, smoke and fire. While searching a room from the hallway or common area without a hose line, it’s appropriate to have one firefighter search the bedroom while one stays at the door. If the hallway becomes untenable, the firefighter can enter the room and shut the door.

For VES operations, the control of the door is a must. After sounding the floor and making entry from the outside, firefighters should close the door. This protects the firefighter and any victims who may be in the room. Rapidly changing conditions may cause the room to become untenable.

With the threat of wind-driven fires in buildings, especially high rises, controlling the door is critical. This can literally determine if you survive. Control of the door from the stairwell must be made to insure that superheated gases and windblown fire does not compromise the position in the stairwell. Failure to control the stairwell can result in the spread of smoke to upper floors, making fire suppression and search efforts difficult.

In addition, the fire room door should be controlled. Not controlling the door can compromise search efforts on the floor and can cause suppression crews to retreat from the blow torch like flames and heat. Severe conditions can cause serious injury or death in some of these fires. It should be noted that when conditions deteriorate in a wind driven fire, firefighters should never seek refuge in the unit across from the fire room. Instead, get into a unit adjacent to the fire unit on the same side of the building and control the door to that unit.

As important as it is to control the door by closing it, it is just as important to keep doors open to allow suppression crews a clear opening to quickly find and extinguish the fire. Back up crews need a clear path behind the attack team. Closing doors can cut off water and reduce pressure to attack lines, leaving the attack team vulnerable.

Control of the door may seem basic, but it’s a skill that is often overlooked. Even on the routine, single-family house fire, we need to control doors during suppression and search operations. All doors should be controlled on all fires, not only for advancing crews to get in, but for them to get out as well. That one door you open in the back of the house might be the one that saves a life.

As with all firefighting tactics, follow your local jurisdictions guidelines and operating procedures and train accordingly. The more you train on these skills, the more second nature they will become.

>> Blog was originally posted with TargetSolutions in February of 2011.

About the Author
Jason Hoevelmann is a Deputy Chief/Fire Marshal with the Sullivan Fire Protection District, a combination department. Hoevelmann is also a career firefighter/paramedic with the Florissant Valley Fire Protection District in North St. Louis County. His experience spans more than 20 years and he has been an instructor for more than 15 years.

Help Section Inside TargetSolutions Features Live Chat Functionality

Did you know TargetSolutions provides three levels of support? If you ever have questions about operating the platform or need additional help or training, we are here for you through our online Help System, which is accessible through the platform; our toll-free (800) line; and our Live Chat functionality.

You can find answers to most questions through the Help System, including videos and step-by-step instructions, but you can also access our support team through the Live Chat feature.

Upon accessing the Help tab within the platform, you will be brought to the Help System’s home page. If you are interested in communicating with a representative at TargetSolutions via Live Chat, click on the Ask an Operator item on the bottom right of the screen (pictured below). Live Chat is available Monday through Thursday from 8 a.m. to 5 p.m. and from 8 a.m. to noon on Fridays.

To access our knowledgeable support staff via phone or e-mail, you can reach us at (800) 840-8048 or support@targetsolutions.com. We are here to serve you and assist in any way possible!

cb-help-system-live-chat

 

Customer Driven Innovation Fuels TargetSolutions’ Online Training and Records Management System

TargetSolutions has always listened to the recommendations of its clients. The reason is simple: You know your job better than we do. As a result, you know how our online training and records management system can help you the most.

“Our platform wouldn’t be what it is today if not for the feedback from clients,” said TargetSolutions’ Vice President of Operations Alex Day. “We have always listened to their ideas and worked to make our platform more functional for the people using it. We truly value the insight our clients have provided over the years because that is what has helped us create tools that help fire departments increase operational efficiencies and reduce costs.”

There is no greater example of TargetSolutions listening to its clients’ requests than the creation of the ISO Training Tracker, which was built with the help of Tim Riley and Guy Keirn of the Pinellas County Training Group. Riley and Keirn worked with TargetSolutions during the early stages of the tools development in 2010, and today the ISO Training Tracker is one of the most popular features inside the TargetSolutions platform.

“We’re extremely grateful to the Pinellas County Training Group for giving us great insight and helping us create a robust application,” Day said. “Our ISO Training Tracker helps departments automatically accumulate proper documentation for their next ISO audit. It makes the entire process easier.”

Riley, who now works with TargetSolutions as a product specialist and previously worked for the Dunedin Fire Department in Florida, was like most other training chiefs who have suffered multiple headaches preparing for an ISO audit. The simple fact is that if records are not collected properly, departments will not receive Class 1 status from ISO. But thanks to Riley, Keirn and other clients who offered advice, there is now a better way through TargetSolutions.

TargetSolutions provides access to customizable ISO training record template for training officers to deliver to employees. After that they can rest confidently knowing the industry’s most powerful records management system will automatically track completions and generate detailed reports, eliminating the hassle of searching through endless paper stacks and spreadsheets.

“This has really streamlined the process for ISO inspections,” Riley said. “In years past, you’d have to take all your records as best you could, pull everything out and pour through everything. But with the Training Tracker you can be proactive instead of reactive. You know the answers before ISO gets there. This keeps you from being blindsided by deficiencies in training records. It’s an incredible tool. It really makes peoples jobs easier.”

The ISO Training Tracker and ISO training record template are just the beginning. Credentials Manager in 2009 and the platforms major interface overhaul in 2011 were a few other monumental accomplishments fueled by the recommendations of clients. To continue receiving this type of feedback, TargetSolutions created a web-based Enhancement Request Form earlier this year so clients would have an efficient way to contact TargetSolutions and suggest improvements to the platform.

“Our tech team has traditionally heard about what we should do next from our account managers,” said TargetSolutions’ Product Manager Misty Pratt. “But the enhancement request form gives us a way to track requests and prioritize what projects should come next more effectively. Our goal has always been to constantly improve our platform. And what advice is better than that of clients who are using it every day?”

A recent success involved a request to allow e-mail notifications to be sent when courses are assigned. By July, this particular request jumped to the front of the line based on feedback received. TargetSolutions was able to build and release this feature in August. The month before, TargetSolutions released improved reporting functionality, based on the feedback from Jay Sumerlin of West Pierce Fire and Rescue in Washington.

Improved functionality of the home pages Bulletin Board, the File Center Upload Tool and the soon-to-be-released User Selector upgrades also came out of the Enhancement Request Form. At the end of the day, TargetSolutions is committed to providing the industry’s most useful applications that streamline training management and increase operational efficiency. We know that paying attention to our clients’ wishes is the best way to make that happen.

“Listening to our clients is our No. 1 priority,” said TargetSolutions’ Client Services Manager Kelly Zielinski. “We take what they say seriously and we are focused on building tools that they will benefit from in a timely fashion and then communicating the upgrades to our clients. What we hear from our clients is the best way for us to learn what we should build next.”

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

User Selector Tool Undergoing Improvements

TargetSolutions knows your time is valuable. We are currently working on optimizing a key tool in the platform to make your experience even faster. The User Selector tool exists as part of many administrative tools including Create New Assignments, Record Completions and more. Not only are we upgrading the technology used to build the User Selector tool, but we are also improving the interface design to increase clarity and remove repetitive steps that can slow down your task.

The development team has similar optimization plans for other areas of the platform. When asked why the User Selector tool was the first to be completed, Software Engineer Manager Dustyn Borghi replied: “Almost everything our platform does has to do with user selection, so having the ability to find users and find them quickly is paramount to daily operations.”

Look for these improvements in the coming months.

 

 

How to Build Trust in the Work Environment

 The Uncompromising Truth
When everyone in the workplace knows it’s safe to treat others with the uncompromising truth, you have a shared value and trust is built.

Blog by Peter Dove
President of Shared Values Association

In the ancient days of the Greek city-state, a man was chosen to greet an approaching army and do his best to arrange for peace. This man was called a hero.

Rob Lebow dreamed of bringing peace to the work environment so he wrote a book: “A Journey into the Heroic Environment.” This book is based on the answers of 17.1 million workers from around the world in response to this question: “What does it take for you to be excited about doing your best at your job?”

Here are the answers Lebow found:

1. Treat others with the uncompromising truth

2. Lavish trust on your associates

3. Be receptive to new ideas regardless of their origin

4. Mentor unselfishly

5. Take personal risks for the organization’s sake

6. Give credit where credit is due

7. Do not touch dishonest dollars

8. Put the interests of others before our own

Nothing new, but common sense is not common practice. Your organization delivers these eight values now. The question is to what degree does your organization deliver these eight values? If you focus on being world class at delivering these specific values, you will have a sustainable, world-class organization that achieves world-class results.

See if this is confirmed in your own work experience. Have you ever had a boss that you did not like and didn’t respect? What was productivity like? I bet it was low. Conversely, have you ever worked for a boss you respected and honored? My guess is that workers cared more, trust was higher, and so was productivity.

Let’s take a real-life example of just one of these values: Treat others with the uncompromising truth. People deserve the truth and when they haven’t received it, they feel betrayed and disempowered. If people feel it is not safe to tell the uncompromising truth, they won’t.

  • Joe has body odor, always has and no one tells him. Joe needs the truth, instead others joke about him as they roll their eyes. Nobody tells Joe, does Joe know something’s up? Yes. Does this cost you anything when people don’t include Joe? Yes. Joe does his job but won’t go the extra mile and freely share information because he doesn’t feel like it and you will never know the cost.
  • Nancy is a gossip, loves to talk about other people. Nancy shares a juicy piece with Sue who is too polite to say anything though she feels uncomfortable. After all she has to work with Nancy all day every day. What’s that costing you? Plenty. Nancy is killing trust in the organization. Trust is everything. Low trust, low productivity — high trust, high productivity and joy as well. Trust is the foundation.
    When everyone in the organization knows it’s safe to treat others with the uncompromising truth, you have a shared value and trust is built.
  • Rita sees a memo and it has created some fear. She wants to tell you, her boss, the uncompromising truth but won’t for fear of what you might say or do. You’re about to make a decision, need the feedback and don’t get it. Results are only as good as the decisions. But Rita has to tell someone so she complains to her friend John and a rumor starts. Costly? Yes.

The solution to all of this: Make it OK within your group to tell the uncompromising truth.

Get your people together and make a ground rule, a contract, an agreement between all that it is safe to tell the truth. Agree on guidelines as to what telling the truth means. What is OK and what is not OK behavior.

When it’s agreed, you are on your way to a heroic environment. Over the years we have found these guidelines to be the most effective:

  1. Am I discussing the issue with the other person within 24 hours?
  2. Am I asking the other person for permission to communicate? Is this a good time to talk?
  3. Am I approaching the other person in a non-threatening way?
  4. Am I straight-talking without hurting the other person’s feelings? Is my language simple, understandable, non-apologizing and non-personal?
  5. Am I making a request of the other person and not a complaint? Is my request telling the other person how I would like it to be?

If you drive from your house to the grocery store with the emergency brake on, you can still get there, you just have to press harder on the gas pedal. You can still get results working in an organization that does not have a heroic environment, but it’s like driving it with the brake on.

The advice of this article is to focus on the eight values at every opportunity starting with the truth. Take the brake off, it will set you free.

About the Author
Peter Dove is president of Shared Values Associates (www.peterdove.com). He focuses on installing the Shared Values Process as well as management and leadership development training and assessments.