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TargetSolutions Offers EMS Continuing Education Credits for Individual Customers

Are you an EMT looking to stay certified? Do you know an EMT who is out of work but trying to keep their certification? If so, TargetSolutions has the answer.

In addition to being the No. 1 choice for departments looking to remain compliant and track training records, TargetSolutions makes its EMS catalog available for individual customers. Users can easily and affordably purchase and earn EMS CE credits for individuals with TargetSolutions.

“By offering EMS professionals our courses, they have an easy and affordable way to earn EMS CE credits for individuals,” said Thomas Woodward, who is TargetSolutions’ executive VP of sales and marketing. “The convenient access through our learning management system combined with our accreditation guarantees a consistent, high-quality educational experience every single time.”

When an individual signs up with TargetSolutions, they receive access to online training courses for two years at one low price. The user gains administrative rights on the platform and is able to assign themselves any course in their library. Individual course libraries are determined by each states certification requirements, including states that require CECBEMS. Once the courses are completed, the user can submit the certificate they receive to their state.

With this offering, TargetSolutions has made it easy and affordable for EMS professionals to stay certified.

Since our inception in 1999, TargetSolutions has been committed to providing the industry’s very best online training content. We take great pride in the fact our web-based library features more than 160 hours of EMS recertification courses that have been accredited by various regulatory agencies. TargetSolutions’ EMS content is accepted in almost every state. Please check online for more information about your state.

“At TargetSolutions, we strive to continually improve our EMS library because we understand that good, comprehensive training not only makes life easier, it actually saves lives,” said TargetSolutions’ Content Architect Jeremy Lynch.

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.

Top Five Principles for Incoming Rookie Firefighters

Blog by Brian Ward
Officer with Gwinnett County Fire Department in Georgia

Awhile back I asked my crew members their opinions on the top five principles for rookie firefighters. I had everyone write down their ideas, I mulled it over, and then put together my own list.

The newcomer was entering the field with the basics (Firefighter I, Firefighter II, Hazmat Operations and EMT-I). Our academy does a good job of preparing these firefighters with an extensive 32-week recruit school. However, adapting to the field and expanding on the basic items learned in recruit school can prove difficult if the field personnel do not set the tone on the newcomers very first day.

As I thought about what five principles I wanted to pass on, several jumped to the front of my head. In order to keep rookie firefighters from mental overload, or confusing them with 10,000 different policies and guidelines, I wanted to get right to the most important things they need to understand.

Now, I’ve seen published lists of what rookie firefighters should know in different magazines before and those reports are generally applicable to all fire departments. My major concern, though, was to identify specifics pertaining to our crew, apparatus and territory. I decided there were no barriers to what types of principles I would instill. These principles could be anything from equipment location to station duties.

The list below contains the items I decided to be the most important. I believe that if everyone in our station follows these simple rules, it will ensure everyone goes home safely and all the other skills and attitudes will fall in line:

1. We are a motivated crew. We train every day, including Sundays for at least one hour. Accept it. Be the first to participate in the drills and train as if your life depends on it because you know what, it does!

2. There is no I Can’t on the incident scene. The same thing goes for the training grounds. There is no I Can’t, only I Won’t. If you’re unable to complete the drill, do it again and again until you’re successful.

3. Listen before acting. Do exactly what the officer tells you to do on the incident scene, and stay one step ahead of the officer. For example, if the officer has his bunker pants on, you should already have your pants, coats, gloves and helmet on. Understand the difference between thinking ahead and freelancing.

4. Learn your duties and do them before you’re told. This will earn you respect in the station that will turn into respect on the incident scene as you gain experience. Crew camaraderie and integrity starts in the station.

5. Learn the equipment on the apparatus. One tool equals one compartment opened.

These items are simple in concept and should be upheld in the station. Simply talking to your new rookie could be the difference in him becoming an asset, or a liability. As a leader, do not allow the motivation of the new firefighter to slip away. That goes for everyone in your crew.

If we follow these principles, I believe we will be better individually, and as a team. Remember, in the very beginning, you have the chance to mold new firefighters into what they will be for the next 30 years. It’s an important responsibility to get them started on the right track.

As always train hard, take care and be safe.

Editor’s Note: This article originally posted with TargetSolutions in November of 2010.

About the Author
Brian Ward is an engineer/acting officer with Gwinnett County Fire Department in Georgia. He is a past training officer, chairman of the Metro Atlanta Training Officers and currently serves on the Honeywell Advisory Council. He is a State of Georgia Advocate for Everyone Goes Home and the Membership Task Force Co-Chair and Live Fire Instructor for ISFSI. Brian was recently awarded the National Seal of Excellence from the NFFF/EGH.

 

Community Resources Connects the TargetSolutions Network

cb-community-resources-overview

Developing custom training is time consuming and expensive, especially when creating programs from scratch. With TargetSolutions’ Community Resources, a file sharing network for fire departments, departments have the ability to easily utilize and share information, including training presentations, videos, policies and much more with other clients and community members.

Community Resources has been coined “Google on steroids for the fire service.” Thousands of organizations have access to this robust file-sharing application, so it is easy to search and find relevant files and resources covering the specific topic you want to cover. Once you have found what you are looking for you can easily incorporate it into your own training activities. It’s exceptionally cost effective and it could not be easier.

Benefits of the application include the following:

  • Utilize and distribute valuable training content shared by other agencies
  • Share your agency’s effective training resources with other agencies
  • Save time and money by leveraging other agencies’ training resources

“Community Resources is a way for instructors to network and share information,” said Eddie Buchanan, who is the past president of the International Society of Fire Service Instructors. “If there is a program they have done that they are proud of, they can put it out there for everyone to use. They can also look at what others have done for some help. It is really a great way to share in a community setting.”

If you would like more information on how this application can benefit your organization, please click here. And if you have any questions, contact us at (800) 840-8046.

Any Advice on How to Improve the Platform? TargetSolutions Is All Ears

Over the past six months, clients have been using the new enhancement request form to suggest improvements to our platform. Using a written approach to gather these great ideas has made it easier to prioritize our development pipeline.

A recent success involved a request to allow an e-mail notification to be sent when a course is assigned. By July, this particular request jumped to the front of the line based on the feedback we were receiving. We built and released this feature in August!

We have also completed a number of submitted usability tweaks, including the ability for an activity to be recorded as complete by administrators only (Lt. Bobby Pitman at Polk County Fire Rescue), expanding the character limit on the Bulletin Board (Capt. Chris Zervas at Washington D.C. Fire Department), and many more.

Our goal has always been to constantly think of how improve our platform. And there is no advice better than that of the clients using it every day.

We want to hear from you! Contact us at (800) 840-8048.

TargetSolutions Helps Clients Achieve Better Compliance with Upgraded E-mail Alert Functionality

TargetSolutions realizes just how critical total compliance is to its clients operations. That’s why we’ve taken great steps to make sure no assignments ever go unnoticed. To ensure users are always made aware of new courses and activities, TargetSolutions has made significant improvements to its already robust notification capabilities.

Site administrators now have the ability to notify users of new items directly from the Create New Assignment application. Now, when administrators are creating a new assignment for their members – after selecting the assignment or activity and the users who will receive it – they have two options inside an E-mail Settings box: E-mail users when the assignments are available, as well as E-mail users when the assignments are overdue.

This way, administrators will be able to send an e-mail alert. Previously, administrators relied on the Notification System inside the platform or monthly user summary reports to inform users about their new assignments.

“We wanted to make the new feature as easy to use as possible and I think we’ve done that,” said TargetSolutions’ VP of Operations Alex Day. We find that our users log in to the platform at different rates, but most people check their e-mail regularly. Having these e-mail alerts go directly to users made sense for departments. Now they will be able to know right away when they have new training that needs to be done and it will help improve compliance.

Site administrators will also no longer receive duplicated e-mail notification alerts on the same credential for different users. When multiple users need to take action on the same credential they will now be combined into one e-mail to administrators.

Also, TargetSolutions has discontinued the monthly summary report for users. They will now receive periodic inactivity reminders in addition to new assignment notification e-mails. Both of these reminder e-mails are in text-only format, rather than the HTML-based monthly summary reports, helping ensure that e-mails will not be intercepted by filters that block unfamiliar addresses.

“These new e-mail alerts put more control in the hands of administrators,” said TargetSolutions’ Product Manager Misty Pratt. “Notification e-mails can be sent right when an assignment is created, which gives more visibility to assignments than the previous monthly summary e-mails. This was something that was heavily requested and it feels really good to deliver for our clients.”

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.

Welcome to TargetSolutions’ New Company Blog

This is the first post of many on our new Company Blog!ts-250-72dpi

TargetSolutions will be actively updating this blog with important information about the platform, including course information, system updates and enhancements, and utilization tricks that will help clients make the most out of the industry’s No. 1 online training and records management system.

Find us on Facebook or Twitter to make sure you never miss a blog post with the latest scoop on TargetSolutions. And if you ever have any questions about the platform and you want to contact us directly, please shoot an e-mail to support@targetsolutions.com or call us at (800) 840-8048.

Out with the Old In with the New

TargetSolutions’ revamped and upgraded system has now been available to clients for the past 12 months. The new system is more engaging, user friendly and contains many new features like the ability to notify a user the minute a new assignment has been assigned, a real-time progress dashboard and more robust reporting features.

Our team of Account Managers has actively helped clients move to the new system over the past year. If you have not had a chance to take advantage of this help, now is the time.

Starting Oct. 1, you will see notification messages letting you know about our plans to automatically move clients to the new platform in December.

We are confident in the upgrades to the system and know you will enjoy the benefits of our new system.

Our Client Services Team is always ready to answer your questions, give us a call at (800) 840-8048.

Changing Attitudes: The Time is Now

By Doug Cline
Horry County Fire Recue (S.C.)

I recently attended a conference for fire chiefs where the hot topic centered on firefighter injuries and deaths resulting from motor vehicle crashes. The use of seat belts or lack of was a big part of the conversation. The topic was discussed at length. Everyone is searching for answers on how to get firefighters to comply. Ideas like decreasing state-death benefits and funding from county governments for departments with violations were tossed around as potential suggestions to help make groups comply. One rather salty chief blurted out, it’s all about attitude and many folks have a (darn) bad one!

That was an interesting and accurate comment. The attitude has to be there to make this cultural change. It has to start with the fire chief, the fired-up fire chief concluded. I was so thrilled to hear his comments I could’ve done back flips!

Unfortunately the next comment by another chief in attendance showed there is still an underlying issue: How do we change the attitudes of individuals who don’t see this as a problem?

There are many attitudes about hundreds of topics in the fire service. But why are there still attitudes when it comes to the safety of fire personnel?

Unlike other public safety professionals, the fire and rescue service is charged with the responsibility of protecting people and property from the ravages of fire and other hostile forces both man-made and natural. We are focused on protecting our communities, but we fail to protect ourselves by neglecting to wear our seatbelts. What sense does that make?

Folks, this is all about attitude. When a firefighter is seriously injured or killed, the fire service does little to promote positive action to prevent a reoccurrence. The message spreads quickly of a fallen comrade, but the lesson is slow to follow and is seldom learned.

How can we change attitudes?

One area this is especially critical is in line-of-duty-deaths that occur as a result of motor vehicle accidents. It has been shown repeatedly that a need for speed is not necessary in most cases. Now, I’m not advocating slowing our responses but the difference between 55 and 65 mph is relatively minor but very dangerous when you consider the fact were handling a 48.5-foot long ladder truck that weighs more than 73,000 pounds or a large apparatus weighing around 45,000 pounds.

The laws of physics show a drastic difference in the stopping distances, not to mention the external forces that affect the apparatus. I have news for everybody in the fire service: We are not immune from the dangers associated with motor vehicle crashes. Unfortunately, our attitudes suggest we think otherwise.

Time is long overdue for the fire and rescue services to actively and seriously address this key safety issue. Too often we tend to take a cosmetic approach rather than getting to the root of the problem. The fire and rescue services, at all levels, need to rise up and meet this challenge.

This means doing what is necessary to turn around the seemingly apathetic or complacent attitude about safety prevailing in the fire service today. You may be thinking that the fire service is safer today than it’s ever been. That may be true. We definitely have better equipment today and our apparatus and gear are safer. But make no mistake, the most important part of our own safety is the one thing we control most our attitude.

Over the past two years, the firefighter safety stand down has taken the fire service by storm with progressive departments. However, there are departments across our nation that never heard of this program even with all of the efforts this past year by the National Fallen Firefighters Foundation. Every attitude in the fire service needs to be focused on the concept of having the courage to be safe.

I challenge you as fire service leaders to help make this necessary change. How do we do this, you ask? Start by being safety minded in everything you do. Take the 16 Life Safety Initiatives that were developed by the Fallen Firefighters Foundation. Look at your own department to see how you are measuring up. If you are falling short, focus on making cultural changes in how you operate on a daily basis. Take aggressive actions to identify and correct actions that are unsafe. Make everyday a training day so everyone goes home safe!

>> This blog was originally posted with TargetSolutions in December of 2010

About the Author
Douglas Cline is a 32-year veteran of the Fire Service. He serves as assistant chief with Horry County Fire Recue (S.C.). Cline is a North Carolina Level II Fire Instructor, National Fire Academy Instructor and an EMT-Paramedic instructor for the North Carolina Office of Emergency Medical Services. Cline is the President of the Southeastern Association of Fire Chiefs (SEAFC), a member of the North Carolina Society of Fire and Rescue Instructors and the 1st Vice President International Society of Fire Service Instructors (ISFSI).

 

Serving Fire Service Heroes Is Special Privilege for TargetSolutions’ Employees

During the early days of TargetSolutions’ existence, skeptics questioned whether web-based learning would be an effective tool for fire training. That was back in the late 90s when the company was first founded and the Internet was just taking off. Now, more than 700 fire departments log into the system each year.

So, what has been the driving force behind TargetSolutions’ success? For the people inside the company’s San Diego headquarters, it’s simple: A commitment to helping the heroes who serve us all.

“We exist for the public safety officials who are serving our communities,” said TargetSolutions’ CEO Jon D. Handy. “It’s important to me that people understand that we’re a company on a mission to provide technology with a purpose.”

TargetSolutions’ employees are dedicated to providing fire departments with innovative applications that help streamline training management. In fact, some employees have a personal connection to the fire service. Vice President of Operations Alex Day, who has been with the company since November of 2006, is closely tied to the industry.

Working at TargetSolutions has allowed Day to return to his roots as his father was a division chief with the Vista Fire Department (Calif.).

“I’ve been in-tune with the industry since I was a child, Day said. I remember being a kid and climbing on fire engines and going on ride-alongs. For me, to be able to serve this industry, it’s special. I feel at home.”

Annmarie Grimm, the company’s executive assistant, has been married to Escondido Fire Departments (Calif.) John Grimm for 15 years. Earlier this month, John, an engineer, was deployed to Northern California to combat wildfires for several weeks. Although time together was sacrificed, Annmarie recognizes the value her husband provides to the community.

“The way I look at it, he doesn’t belong to me,” Annmarie said. “He belongs to everybody. I just get to borrow him and I’m grateful for every moment we spend together.”

TargetSolutions’ commitment to the fire service helped make Annmarie’s decision to join the company easy.

“It was serendipitous,” she said. “I walked in not knowing what TargetSolutions did. The fact TargetSolutions makes a difference for the fire service, I knew it was the right place for me.”

Client Services Account Manager Ashley Cole married her husband, Jeffrey Cole, an engineer with the Poway Fire Department (Calif.), in May of 2012. Ashley’s relationship with Jeffrey has given her a tremendous appreciation for the fire industry.

“He loves what he does – it’s not just a job to him,” Cole said. “I’m surrounded by the fire industry. It’s really become a huge part of my life. I know how important their job is to them and that makes me feel like my job is really important because it impacts them.”

The universal sentiment at TargetSolutions is that serving emergency responders is a privilege. Making a difference in the lives of those who make such a huge impact on our communities is special.

The company recognizes and appreciates the hard-work and bravery it takes to be a firefighter and is looking forward to continue providing innovative solutions to the men and women who serve our communities.

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.

Developing Meta-Awareness Is Vital in Maintaining Situational Awareness

Blog by Dr. Richard B. Gasaway
Retired Fire Chief and Web Master for Situational Awareness Matters

One of the situational awareness best practices I share with first responders is the need to develop meta-awareness. Most responders, including me before I immersed myself into the study of brain science, do not understand the concept of meta-awareness, yet it’s a critical component in the development and maintenance of your personal situational awareness.

Meta-awareness means to be consciously aware of your situational awareness. You’re probably still thinking, Huh? What does THAT mean?

Simply this: When you’re operating in the environment of high-risk and high-consequence at an emergency scene with changing conditions and immense amounts of work to be done, you can, quite simply, lose track of whether or not you are maintaining your situational awareness.

Maybe stated another way, you get so busy doing stuff that you don’t think about what is required to develop and maintain situational awareness. And then, before you realize it it’s gone and that may set you on the fast track to a near-miss or a casualty incident.

So how do you develop meta-awareness? You do it by first understanding what situational awareness is. This lesson is rarely taught in first responder training programs. When it is taught instructors rarely provide a thorough explanation because they don’t understand the complexities of situational awareness. I don’t blame the instructors. Most of them, well intended as they are, were not adequately taught about the complexities of situational awareness. So they tell us to Pay attention!

Once you understand what situational awareness is, the next lesson is to understand how you develop it. Then the next lesson is to understand how you lose it. And the final lesson is to understand how you get it back if you do lose it.

Meta-awareness is rooted in the first two lessons: Understanding what situational awareness is and how you develop it. Here is the abbreviated lesson and I do mean abbreviated. It takes me a full day in the classroom to teach this so be cautious about thinking this summary will do it for you.

Situational awareness is being able to see the bad things coming in time to change the outcome. You do this by capturing clues and cues in your environment, comprehending what they mean in context and using your understanding of the current situation to make accurate predictions about future events.

Flawed situational awareness is a big deal for first responders. In fact, it’s the biggest deal! Look at near-miss and casualty reports and you will see it or something similar like miscommunication implicated over and over again. Yet, so many first responders don’t know how to fix the problem. Fixing that problem is my mission. Please let me know how I can help.

About the Author
Dr. Gasaway is widely considered one of the nation’s leading authorities on situational awareness and decision-making processes used by first responders. In addition to more than 30 years in the fire service, including 22 as a fire chief, Dr. Gasaway has a second passion: Uncovering and applying research in brain science for the benefit of first responders. His website Situational Awareness Matters (www.SAMatters.com) has enjoyed more than a million visits since its launch in October of 2011. He can be reached via e-mail at Support@RichGasaway.com or (612) 548-4424.