Kevin Wesley serves as a training captain for Alachua County Fire Rescue in Gainesville, Fla. With a department consisting of approximately 230 members, the training division of ACFR is tasked with managing training for a department that answers around 37,000 calls each year over 960 square miles of terrain. It’s a daunting challenge, but one that must be met with effectiveness, which is exactly what has transpired with the arrival of TargetSolutions, the industry’s leading online fire department training and records management system.
After some early struggles convincing management about the need for TargetSolutions, the department finally decided it was time to invest in the online fire training technology in April of 2012. At a time when the department was cutting back – Alachua County Fire Rescue has made considerable efforts to reduce its expenses by eliminating 20.5 administrative positions over a two-year period (2009- ’11) – Wesley has been able to ramp up the training program. The department’s decision looks brilliant now because it is able to do more with less – at a time when doing more with less is increasingly more critical.
Wesley can rattle off numerous benefits, but one of the most positive is the ability to “flip the classroom,” which is to deliver customized pre-training online before conducting didactic training. This new trend in the fire service helps departments focus on company drills and multi-company drills by giving personnel a head start before a live event takes place. For example, by sending out an electronic overview of ropes and knots, Wesley is able to save time when crews arrive at the training facility for the hands-on portion, he said.
“This was an advantage to TargetSolutions that we were hoping to take advantage of,” Wesley said. “I’d heard about that idea and was looking for a way to deliver pre-training. TargetSolutions has made it easier than I had anticipated.”
Prior to TargetSolutions, Alachua County was using an antiquated database for tracking employee training records. The system was “cumbersome, clunky and unreliable,” Wesley said. Retrieving data was difficult and time consuming. Simply put, the department needed a faster, more advanced tool to streamline training. That’s where TargetSolutions was able to help with tools for scheduling out, delivering and tracking training, including more than 250 hours of accredited Fire and EMS recertification courses.
“No matter what kind of training we do, there is now 100 percent accountability to record it, so if our crews do it, we can track it and document it with a reliable system now. That’s probably the biggest thing. It’s really allowed us to plan out our training year with confidence. Credential management has been huge. Before, we would have to look at an Excel spreadsheet to see when someone’s credential was expiring. With TargetSolutions’ credential alerts, we now get notification e-mails 90 days, 60 days, 30 days ahead of time. There is no more saying, ‘I didn’t know.’ There is no excuse for it.”
Kevin Wesley, Training Captain
The platform also paid dividends for Alachua County during its fire department ISO review, which the training portion was completed in less than 30 minutes because of TargetSolutions’ clean, concise reporting capabilities, Wesley said. Previously, the process would have required more than 600 pages of documentation and tons of patience.
“I was able to show all the records of our training to ISO,” Wesley said. “Almost everyone was near 100 percent in meeting their training requirements.”
TargetSolutions delivers cutting-edge software applications, engaging online training courses, and world-class customer service. The company was founded in 1999 and today there are more than 2,000 organizations across the country using TargetSolutions’ innovative technology to solve their training challenges.
TargetSolutions is excited to host a special user group during Firehouse World on Wednesday, Feb. 19.
Each year the annual conference comes to TargetSolutions’ home town of San Diego, which provides an excellent opportunity to schedule a special gathering with clients and prospects. This year’s event is being held at the San Diego Marriott Gaslamp Quarter (660 K Street – located next to Petco Park, north of the San Diego Convention Center) and is scheduled to run from 10 a.m. to 3 p.m.
TargetSolutions will be providing attendees with an update on the online fire training system’s latest enhancements, delivering an overview of EMS courses and credentials, and answering questions about the fire department training platform. In addition, Jay Summerlin of West Pierce Fire Department (Wash.) and Jake Pelk of Central San Mateo County Training Division (Calif.) will be guest speakers.
Summerlin will be discussing how his department manages pre-incident planning with TargetSolutions and Pelk will give an overview of how his department tracks controlled substances with TargetSolutions.
A catered lunch will be provided. If you have any questions about the upcoming user group, or would like to attend, please contact us today.
In addition to the special user group, TargetSolutions will be presenting its fire department software during Firehouse World’s exhibit hours at the San Diego Convention Center. The booth (No. 720) will be open from 10 a.m. to 5 p.m. on Wednesday, Feb. 19 and from 10 a.m. to 4 p.m. on Thursday, Feb. 20. Please stop by and say hello!
“TargetSolutions has created a records system that clearly allowed our organization to comply with our scheduled ISO audit in September 2010. The process of completing the training section of the report for ISO was seamless.”Guy Keirn, Training Chief, Pinellas County Training Group
“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 to keep track of records for ISO compliance.”Bob Olme, Assistant Chief, Wheat Ridge Fire Department
“It will definitely improve our ISO rating. 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.”Kim Miller, Captain, Haines City Fire & Rescue
TargetSolutions’ online fire training system offers fire departments a ready-made solution for efficiently tracking various types of ongoing daily drill-yard training. These are the types of activities every department regularly completes, but might not regularly log.
Whether it is ladders, hoses, or any other firefighter training activity you can imagine, it needs to happen regularly for firefighters to be prepared. With that in mind, TargetSolutions features customizable electronic forms that cover most departments’ daily checklist. These lists are broken into specifications, ensuring all fire department training, no matter how minimal, is tracked and recorded.
“By utilizing our daily activities, firefighters will be able to record the drills and other hands-on training that they are already doing easily and efficiently,” said Jenny Fergason, who serves as TargetSolutions’ Director of Client Services. “We’ve put together some templates on the most commonly completed drills, but we also provide platform managers with the ability to customize our templates to fit their department’s own unique needs.”
After years of documenting routine training the old-fashioned way, Mike Linkins of Polk County Fire Rescue in Bartow, Fla., was amazed to learn just how much training went uncounted toward employee training records before signing on with TargetSolutions, which features a suite of powerful tools that simplify training and operations.
“Our people were doing their training, but not recording it,” Linkins said. “The numbers we were expecting were consistently lower than our expectations. When we saw how you could track training with TargetSolutions, we were astonished.”