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Managing Users’ Profiles Is Now Easier, More Flexible

TargetSolutions has improved the Modify Users tool; which makes managing users’ profiles easier. This includes a brand new look for user profiles, as well as the ability for administrators and supervisors to change the usernames and e-mails of their users.

As a related change, administrators now have the ability to require e-mail addresses without requiring the address to be used as a username.

“The ability to make e-mail required for each user and still retain a unique username for login purposes was a highly requested feature. Some of these city-given e-mails have five acronyms and four periods in each one. They are long and a hassle to type in every time,” said Product Manager Misty Pratt. “Now the users are free to choose a unique username that is easier for them to remember and quicker for them to enter.”

TargetSolutions is also improving the My Profile section of all user accounts. The section will have the great new look and enhanced usability of the Modify Users application.

Documenting Training Is Easier for Bethpage Since Implementing TargetSolutions

Bethpage Fire Department no longer has trouble deciphering what training has been completed thanks to TargetSolutions’ computer-based training management system.

The Bethpage Fire Department has proudly served the citizens of Bethpage, N.Y., since 1910. More than 100 years of dedicated service demonstrate the department’s commitment to the people, as well as its significance to the community. With 190 members divided amongst three stations, Bethpage is responsible for protecting a population of more than 30,000 people and covering an area of 7.8 square miles. It takes a well-trained, cohesive department to respond effectively to more than 1,800 calls per year.

It all starts with having the right people in the right place – people who are continuously looking for ways to maximize productivity. In order to operate as efficiently as possible, Bethpage implemented TargetSolutions, the industry’s leader in web-based training and records management, in 2008.

Joseph Minogue, the Chairman-Board of Fire Commission, says the online platform has delivered the tools needed to train and document training more efficiently.

“Before we started using TargetSolutions, it was tough to get everyone’s annual training documentation filed without missing something,” said Minogue. “TargetSolutions makes everything easy to document and easy to pull out.

“It’s a great management tool to make sure everyone is staying on top of his/her training. TargetSolutions is also a way to reach across generations. The newer generation of tech-savvy firefighters and the firefighters who are not so tech savvy, are having new dialogue.”

The difficulties Bethpage faced before implementing TargetSolutions are common for departments without powerful records management tools. Knowing for certain who did what and when they did it can be tedious and taxing when trying to chase down a paper trail. Bethpage knew it had to find a viable solution to eliminate this problem.

Like any department, complying with state requirements is a top priority for Bethpage. Commissioner Minogue says TargetSolutions has not only helped with the documentation of state-required training, but also provided tremendous flexibility in the use of training programs for company officers and has enhanced communication throughout the department.

Company officers utilize TargetSolutions’ publicly shared resources, as well as department-created libraries to give members an educational foundation. And sending out memos to personnel – and being assured they received the information – is simple and reliable. The platform’s e-signature check box allows employees to let it be known that they have reviewed the message.

“Overall, the Bethpage Fire Department is pleased with what it has seen from TargetSolutions. It’s a great program and it works. TargetSolutions offers a convenient, cost-effective method for recordkeeping and getting training messages out.”

Joseph Minogue, Chairman-Board of Fire Commission

About TargetSolutions
TargetSolutions is the leading provider of web-based technology solutions for fire and EMS departments. These solutions enable departments to maintain compliance, reduce losses, deliver curriculum, and track all station-level tasks, certifications and training activities.

Customize Your Organization’s Online Training Courses with the Course Library Application

The Course Library application provides administrators with the ability to easily and efficiently customize TargetSolutions’ online training courses. From the Course Library, administrators can view course descriptions, upload and edit attachments, make courses self assignable, add tags, as well as set timers and passing grades for courses.

With this application, administrators will select the course they wish to modify and then customize it with the course settings feature. This is a useful, easy-to-maneuver tool that gives administrators the ability to change a setting for one course, or apply it in bulk to a group of courses.

If an administrator has an internal document that applies to a course they are administering through TargetSolutions, they can easily attach it to the course so it becomes a part of the course experience.

The Course Library is very beneficial for administrators looking to customize TargetSolutions’ online training courses. If you would like more information on this tool, please contact TargetSolutions today at (800) 840-8048.

The Predictability of Occupancy Performance and Tactical Patience

Blog by Christopher J. Naum
Executive Producer of www.buildingsonfire.com

Today’s incident demands on the fireground are unlike those of the recent past. They require incident commanders and commanding officers to have increased technical knowledge of building construction with a heightened sensitivity to fire behavior, a focus on operational structural stability and considerations related to occupancy risk versus the occupancy type.

There is an immediate need for today’s emerging and operating command and company officers to increase their foundation of knowledge and insights related to the modern building occupancy, building construction and fire protection engineering. There is also a need to adjust and modify traditional and conventional strategic operating profiles in order to safeguard companies, personnel and team compositions.

Strategies and tactics must be based on occupancy risk, not occupancy type, and must have the combined adequacy of sufficient staffing, fire flow and tactical patience orchestrated in a manner that identifies with the fire profiling, predictability of the occupancy profile and accounts for presumptive fire behavior.

The dramatic changes in buildings over the past 10 years have resulted inadequate fire suppression methodologies based upon conventional practices that don’t align with the manner in which we used to discern — with a measured degree of predictability — how buildings perform, react and fail under most fire conditions.

We predicate certain expectations that fire will travel in a defined manner and it will hold within a room for a predictable given duration of time. We also assume the fire load and related fire flows required will be appropriate for an expected severity of fire encountered within a given building, occupancy and structural system. We expect that with an appropriately trained staff will be able to perform the requisite evolutions and safely and effectively mitigate a structural fire in any given building type and occupancy.

Past operational experiences, both favorable and negative, gave us experiences that define and determine how we expect similar structures and occupancies to perform at a given alarm in the future. This formed the basis for the naturalistic decision-making process.

Implementing fundamentals of firefighting operations built upon nine decades of time-tested and experience-proven strategies and tactics continue to be the model of suppression operations. These same fundamental strategies continue to drive methodologies in our training programs and academies of instructions.

But are you aware of the defining changes in structural systems and support, the characteristics of materials and the magnitude of the fire-loading package in today’s buildings and occupancies? When was the last time you were out in the street with the companies, or spent some time doing a walk-through of construction or renovations site? Have you asked your commanding officers for insights into what operational demands and risks are being imposed upon them while operating in the street and within the buildings, occupancies and structures that comprise your jurisdiction?

The structural anatomy, predictability of building performance under fire conditions, structural integrity and the extreme fire behavior; accelerated growth rate and intensively levels typically encountered in buildings of modern construction during initial and sustained fire suppression have given new meaning to the term combat fire engagement.

The rules for combat structural fire suppression have changed. It’s no longer just brute force and sheer physical determination that define structural fire suppression operations, although any seasoned command and company officer knows that at times, that’s exactly what gets the job done.

However, from a methodical and disciplined perspective, aggressive firefighting must be redefined and aligned to the built environment and associated with goal-oriented tactical operations that have been defined by strategic processes and executed under battle plans that promote the best in safety practices.

The demands and requirements of modern firefighting will continue to require the placement of personnel within situations and buildings that carry risk, uncertainty and inherent danger. As a result, risk management must become fluid and integrated with intelligent tactical deployments and operations. Today’s incident commanders need to think about the predicative strategic process.

Here are some action steps to consider:

>> Read, comprehend and implement the IAFCs Rules of Engagement for Firefighter Survival and The Incident Commanders Rules of Engagement for Firefighter Safety.

>> Take a tour of your response area, district, community, or city. Take a good look around and begin to recognize the apparent or subtle changes that are affecting your incident operations.

>> Read up on the latest research and technical literature on wind-driven fires, extreme fire behavior, structural ability of engineered lumber systems, fire loading and suppression theory.

>> Take time to personally read a series of the latest NIOSH Fire Fighter Fatality Investigation and Prevention Program LODD reports and relate them to your organizations.

>> Start thinking in terms of Occupancy Risks vs. Occupancy Type and align your operations and deployments to match those risks.

>> Increase your situational awareness of today’s fireground and refine your strategic and tactical modeling.

>> Implement both strategic and tactical patience. Slow down and allow the building to stabilize. Increase survivability ratios while meeting the demands of conducting fire service operations.

>> Reprogram your assumptions and presumptions on building construction and firefighting operations. The buildings have changed, our firefighting has not. What are you going to do about that gap?

If you don’t fully understand how a building truly performs or reacts under fire conditions and the variables that can influence its stability and degradation, then you will be functioning and operating in a reactionary manner that is no longer acceptable within many of our modern building types. This places higher risk to your personnel and lessens the likelihood for effective, efficient and safe operations.

You’re not doing your job effectively and you’re at risk. These risks can equate into insurmountable operational challenges and could lead to adverse incident outcomes. Someone could get hurt, someone could die. It’s that simple. It’s that obvious.

It’s all about understanding the building-occupancy relationships and the art and science of firefighting. At the end of the day, building knowledge equals firefighter safety.

Editor’s Note: This article was originally posted on www.commandsafety.com and www.thecompanyofficer.com.

About the Author
Christopher J. Naum, SFPE, has more than 37 years of field and operations experience and previously worked in command, operations and training capacities. Currently serves as the executive producer for several fire service websites, including www.buildingsonfire.com.

Enhancements to TargetSolutions’ EDU Courses

A well-trained school district is healthier, safer and more productive. That is why TargetSolutions is focused on helping educators gain the knowledge they need to maximize safety and reduce liability in their institutions. At the end of the day, educators need training, too.

With that in mind, we are excited about the enhancements to TargetSolutions’ EDU Course Catalog is currently undergoing. Our most popular courses for school districts, including Sexual Harassment, Bloodborne Pathogens, and Ethics in the Workplace, are all undergoing a transformation. These courses, and many others, will be relaunched during 2013 featuring more interactive sequences, recent case study lessons and scenarios and engaging videos. We like to call it, training that makes a difference.

“Our EDU clients are unique and we are committed to creating content and applications just for them,” said Business Unit Manager Kelly Zielinski. “The relaunch of these titles is just the beginning. We have new courses in the works and look forward to releasing them in the coming months.”

TargetSolutions’ Cost-Effective System Helps Public Entities Decrease Liability Save Money

In today’s world, public entities have no choice but to watch their budgets. When investing in a web-based training management platform, they need to be confident they are making a prudent business decision. TargetSolutions gives fire departments and other organizations the opportunity to cost effectively and efficiently meet mandatory training requirements, eliminate unnecessary expenses and manage risks.

Here are some of the benefits of TargetSolutions:

Reduce Costs: Decrease pricy instructor-led training sessions and expenses, including overtime and fuel charges. Eliminate the need for rescheduling expensive training events when employees miss mandatory live events.

Improve ISO Rating: Preparing for an audit by ISO can be grueling. TargetSolutions simplifies it with ready-made training activities built for ISO and the ultimate tracking system. When ISO comes to analyze your records, you’ll be ready.

Reduce Claims: TargetSolutions’ training courses have proven to change unsafe behaviors that lead to injuries and other claims. Our catalog features critical sexual harassment training that will eliminate damaging and costly lawsuits.

Decrease Liability: It can be extremely difficult monitoring licenses and credentials for an entire department. With TargetSolutions you will always know your employees status. Alert notifications keep things like critical licenses from expiring.

Training Efficiency: As we all know, time is money. With TargetSolutions, training is simplified for everyone. Scheduling, assigning and monitoring training is easier than ever for administrators. And 24/7 access to platform helps users maximize their time.

Tools & Resources: Continuing education for EMS can be expensive. TargetSolutions features more than 160 hours of accredited courses in its library. Plus, Community Resources offers content from other organizations for all types of training.

If you’d like to learn more about how TargetSolutions can help your department reduce costs, please check out our Cost Savings Calculator. This tool will help you estimate how much savings your department can achieve with TargetSolutions’ powerful training management system.

About TargetSolutions
TargetSolutions is the leading provider of web-based technology solutions for fire and EMS departments. These solutions enable departments to maintain compliance, reduce losses, deliver curriculum, and track all station-level tasks, certifications and training activities.

TargetSolutions Announces Several Changes to Its Client Services Team’s Coverage

TargetSolutions is excited to announce a few changes to its Client Services team. Account Managers Kegan Konrady and Ann Gruetzmacher, as well as Account Specialist Kate Fishman, are now covering new territories.

Konrady will be serving as the primary account manager for the state of California. He will also support Nevada and Hawaii.

Gruetzmacher, who already covered the Great Lakes, Northeast, and the South, will now additionally provide service to the Mid-Atlantic (Kentucky, North Carolina, Tennessee, Virginia and West Virginia).

Fishman, who was recently promoted to account specialist, will be picking up Gruetzmacher’s previous territory in the Midwest (Iowa, Kansas, Minnesota, Missouri, Nebraska, North Dakota, Oklahoma and South Dakota).

The Client Services team is very excited about the changes and we feel confident that each team member is a great fit for their new region, said Client Services Manager Jennifer Antinone. We are dedicated to service and keeping our clients happy and we are looking forward to 2013 being a successful year for our company, as well as our clients.

If you have any questions about the changes, or operating the TargetSolutions platform, please do not hesitate to contact us today. Our team is available to answer questions during normal business hours at 800.840.8048. After-hours emergency support is also available.

Why SOPs Are Harmful to the Formation of Situational Awareness

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

During my “Fifty Ways to Kill a First Responder” program, I discuss how standard operating procedures (SOPs) and standard operating guidelines (SOGs) can be helpful in the formation of situational awareness and in making critical incident decisions. Much to the chagrin of the policy makers in the audience, I also discuss how SOPs and SOGs can be harmful to the formation of situational awareness and cripple good decision making.

The former seems easier to comprehend. When employees have SOPs or SOGs to follow their performance is consistent and predictable. When a crew arrives at an emergency and performs according to a standard, then everyone arriving after them knows what to expect. There are few surprises when all the crews using the same playbook. To this end, SOPs and SOGs are a great tool to build consistency and predictability into operations. In fact, developing and using SOPs and SOGs are one of my top 10 situational awareness best practices.

So how can SOPs and SOGs be harmful? In training, responders should use the standards. It’s a simple premise. Train to the standard. Perform to the standard. However, there are times when the standard way of doing things won’t work. The circumstances of the incident are not covered by the standard. When this happens, what is a member to do?

Essentially, they have two choices. First, follow the standard, regardless of the circumstances. Or, improvise a unique solution to the novel problem. Which will they do? The answer, surprisingly, will be based on how rigid the organization views their standards and how much resiliency the organization has built into their decision making processes.

Let’s run through a couple of made-up fire scenarios to see how this plays out.

Scenario 1: The fire is in the back of the structure. The standard says attack from the unburned side, meaning the crew is going to advance the hose line through the front door. It’s a drill they’ve practiced over and over again at the burn building. Fire in the back. Attack from the front. But the front door is barricaded and fortified. Attempts to force entry are not working. Because the policy says attack from the unburned side, additional efforts are given to making entry. The process takes five minutes. All the while, the fire is growing in the back of the structure. Crews are not willing to veer from the standard because they fear the consequences.

Scenario 2: The fire is in the back of the structure. The standard says attack from the unburned side. During training, the crews practiced in accordance to the standard until they were good at the skill. However, the instructor then created scenarios that did not fit the written standard. The scenario of the barricaded and fortified door was built into the drill. During the exercise the students were encouraged to improvise a solution. Then they were encouraged to improvise a second solution, then a third. This creative problem solving, performing on purpose in ways that does not conform to standards, builds resiliency into decision making. And this is a critical skill to develop in responders. Standards can’t cover everything and responders need to be taught how to resolve issues where the standards don’t work. They also need to practice the deviations. And they need to be encouraged and rewarded for their creative problem solving efforts.

Unless you can develop and implement standards that cover every possible scenario responders will face, you may want to work in building resiliency into your members’ decision making. It will improve their situational awareness and their safety.

About the Author
Dr. Gasaway is widely considered to be one of the nation’s leading authorities on situational awareness and decision making processes used by first responders. In addition to his 30-plus year career in the fire service, including 22 years 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 over a million visits since its launch in October 2011. He can be reached via e-mail at Support@RichGasaway.com.

Wheat Ridge Fire Department Looks to TargetSolutions for Tracking Critical Training Hours Certifications

In 1926, the Wheat Ridge Fire Department began serving the citizens of Colorado under the basic principle of service before self. The department has recently reinforced its commitment to the community by adopting a new mission statement: Doing the Right Things at the Right Times for the Right Reasons.

In order to carry out its goals, the entire department must be well-organized, well-trained and well-prepared to respond to a crisis in a moment’s notice. Battalion Chief Bob Olme manages the training division and ensures the department is reaching its maximum potential in those areas.

Olme began his career in the fire service in 1984 and is extremely experienced in many disciplines of the profession. He realizes the importance of comprehensive training and that’s why it made so much sense to begin using TargetSolutions, he said.

“TargetSolutions is a very strong platform for tracking certifications, hours and all of the things you need from a certification standpoint. It’s also a great way for us to keep track of records for ISO compliance,” said Olme, whose department implemented TargetSolutions in 2009.

In addition to superior tools for tracking training, Olme’s department benefits from uploading documents onto the platform for firefighters to view 24/7.

“SOPs come out and we put them on TargetSolutions. Everybody can reference them,” Olme said. “They’re permanent documents so people don’t have to chase paper anymore.”

In addition to the records management functions, Olme also assigns online courses to the firefighters.

“It supplements our hands-on training by providing a consistent knowledge base that we can roll out both to our career and volunteer firefighters simultaneously,” said Olme. It’s fairly self-taught, so if you’re on a busy schedule you’re able to do it at your will. It has been very successful for us both on the fire side as well as EMS training.

Olme has had experience with several different platforms and he says that TargetSolutions is the easiest to use.

“It’s a super strong platform that’s easy to use,” said Olme. “I don’t have a lot of administrative help, and I am still able to do it and stay up with it. If I can do it, anybody can.”

Even though it’s a user friendly platform, Olme reports that anytime he needs help, it is given to him by the excellent Client Services team at TargetSolutions.

“Whenever I need help, I get help,” he said. “I would certainly recommend TargetSolutions to anybody who asked me about it.”

About TargetSolutions
TargetSolutions is the leading provider of web-based technology solutions for fire and EMS departments. These solutions enable departments to maintain compliance, reduce losses, deliver curriculum, and track all station-level tasks, certifications and training activities.

Tip of the Month: How to Import Files from Community Resources Application

The Community Resources application gives administrators the ability to access and share training videos, organizational policies, inspection forms, and more with other TargetSolutions clients. Administrators are able to import and distribute these resources to users through the Activities Builder.

There are two ways to locate videos in Community Recourses: Top Files and Top Videos and by searching. The Top Files and Top Videos are determined by a combination of popular views and resource ratings. The search engine provides the ability to browse the database of shared content, which is based off of keywords, as well as administrator-defined tags.

Once an administrator or supervisor locates a video in the Community Resources that they would like to share with their department, they can easily import the file with just a few simple steps. First, click the Import Resource button under the Resource Details section. The file/video will then transfer to the File Center into a folder labeled Imported Resources. The administrator can then attach the video or file to a custom activity to be assigned out to their users. It is as easy as that!

Without a doubt, Community Resources is one of TargetSolutions most useful applications. If you’d like more information on this tool, please contact your account manager.