Technology with a Purpose

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New Course Released FERPA Protecting Student Privacy

School district staff members often find themselves with a large amount of confidential information at their fingertips, especially when it comes to students. Since confidential information is often sensitive and needs to remain private, it is critical school district staff members know how to handle this type of information in order to protect students privacy and avoid violations. With this in mind, the Family Educational Rights and Privacy Act (FERPA) was instituted.

Earlier this month, TargetSolutions released FERPA: Protecting Student Privacy, which covers all aspects of FERPA, including the type of private information it pertains to and special exceptions to the law.

“Due to the amount of requests from risk pool clients for this type of course, in addition to the government creating an act based on protection of student privacy, we felt compelled to build a course that would help protect our clients from privacy related lawsuits,” said TargetSolutions Content Architect Jeremy Lynch.

This concise, interactive course provides an overview of FERPA and breaks down the law into case studies and lessons that cover common complaints, violations, and exceptions. Most importantly, the course covers how to get the right information out to the agencies that need it during emergency situations, while still protecting students privacy.

If you have any questions about this or any other course in TargetSolutions online training catalog, please contact us today!

FERPA: Protecting Student Privacy is the latest addition to TargetSolutions’ course catalog.


TargetSolutions Honors Our Fallen Firefighters

TargetSolutions considers itself extremely fortunate to serve the heroes who do so much for our communities. Emergency responders show their courage, selflessness and valor every single day.

That’s why everyone at TargetSolutions was so devastated by the recent events in Arizona, as well as California. The heartbreaking Yarnell Fire took the lives of 19 members of the elite Granite Mountain Hotshots firefighting crew. This tragedy has left everyone connected to the fire service in sadness. Also, last week here in Southern California, a CAL FIRE firefighter, Christopher Douglas, was fatally injured after being struck by a passing car while answering an emergency on a local highway.

TargetSolutions would like to take this opportunity to send our most sincere condolences to the friends, families and members of the fire service who were so deeply impacted by these terrible tragedies.

Please help us in supporting the National Fallen Firefighters Foundation by providing a monetary donation to assist the survivors and coworkers of the heroes who have died in the line of duty.


So far this year, there have been 66 firefighter fatalities. Our prayers are with all of them. If you would like more information on the firefighters lost in the line of duty, please visit the U.S. Fire Administration’s website.

>> Jonathan W. Burgess, South Alabama Regional Airport Fire Department
>> Matthew J. Porcari , Owego Fire Department
>> Gregory Pickard, Bryan Fire Department
>> Eric Wallace, Bryan Fire Department
>> Claudia Sokol, Diligence Fire Company No.1
>> David Schnepp, Carter’s Valley Fire Department
>> Nate Fruin, Mattawan Fire District
>> Scott Morrison, Knotts Island Volunteer Fire Department
>> Christopher Brown, Hudson Community Fire Protection District
>> Donald Mize, League City Volunteer Fire Department
>> Lonnie Nutt, Marietta Fire Department
>> George A. Turner, Jr., Jericho Fire Department
>> Michael L. Broz, Dorchester County Fire Rescue
>> Jeffrey Scheuerer, New Jersey Forest Fire Service
>> Michael R. Goodwin, Sr., Philadelphia Fire Department
>> John M. Janos, City of Binghamton Bureau of Fire
>> Harold Hollingsworth, Fort Osage Fire Protection District
>> James B. Clark, Bedford Fire Department
>> Lawrence A. Stone, West Union Community Fire Protection District
>> Morris Bridges, West Volunteer Fire Department
>> Cody Dragoo, West Volunteer Fire Department
>> Joseph Pustejousky, West Volunteer Fire Department
>> Douglas Snokhous, West Volunteer Fire Department
>> Robert Snokhous, West Volunteer Fire Department
>> Rodney P. Miller, Loganville Fire Company
>> Dale S. Queen, Oak Ridge Volunteer Fire Department
>> Gene Kirchner, Baltimore County Fire Department – Reisterstown Volunteer Fire Company
>> Daniel Davidson, Sacramento Ranger District of the Lincoln National Forest
>> Stanley Martin Jr., Springfield Volunteer Fire Department
>> Brian Woehlke, Westland Fire Department
>> Albert A. Nejmeh, Tacoma Fire Department
>> Brad Harper, Phoenix Fire Department
>> Stanley A. Wilson, Dallas Fire-Rescue Department
>> Robert Bebee, Houston Fire Department
>> Robert Garner, Houston Fire Department
>> Matthew Renaud, Houston Fire Department
>> Anne Sullivan, Houston Fire Department
>> Luke Sheehy, U.S. Forest Service Pacific Southwest Region
>> Tony Barker, Mountain View Volunteer Fire Department
>> Edward C. Vanner, Jr., 143d Fire & Emergency Services, Quonset ANG Base R.I.
>> Thomas Burley, Youngstown Volunteer Fire Company
>> Katrina Sims, Atlanta Fire Rescue Department
>> John T. Appleton, Malden Volunteer Fire Department
>> Andrew Ashcraft, Prescott Fire Department
>> Robert Caldwell, Prescott Fire Department
>> Travis Carter, Prescott Fire Department
>> Dustin Deford, Prescott Fire Department
>> Christopher MacKenzie, Prescott Fire Department
>> Eric Marsh, Prescott Fire Department
>> Grant McKee, Prescott Fire Department
>> Sean Misner, Prescott Fire Department
>> Scott Norris, Prescott Fire Department
>> Wade Parker, Prescott Fire Department
>> John Percin, Prescott Fire Department
>> Anthony Rose, Prescott Fire Department
>> Jesse Steed, Prescott Fire Department
>> Joe Thurston, Prescott Fire Department
>> Travis Turbyfill, Prescott Fire Department
>> William Warneke, Prescott Fire Department
>> Clayton Whitted, Prescott Fire Department
>> Kevin Woyjeck, Prescott Fire Department
>> Garret Zuppiger, Prescott Fire Department
>> Christopher Douglas, CAL FIRE / Riverside County Fire Department
>> Mickey Yates, Greenfield Volunteer Fire Department
>> John Austin, City of Quincy Fire Department
>> Dennis Long, Idaho Department of Lands – Maggie Creek Forest Protective District

The National Fallen Firefighters Foundation is a 501(c)3 nonprofit organization. If you would like more information, please click here.

Auto Renewal for Credentials Makes Platform Management More Convenient


Easily Schedule Ongoing Credentials to Automatically Renew and Eliminate Unnecessary E-mail Alerts with New ARC Enhancement

If you are spending too much time managing your user’s credentials, you are going to love our latest platform upgrade. The new Auto Renewal tool inside Credentials Manager, which is now available, makes records and information management with TargetSolutions even more efficient.

In the past, credentials that contained online safety training courses with expiration dates, needed to be manually changed to reflect new dates after being completed. This was especially time consuming for larger organizations with dozens of employee training records. This new enhancement enables credentials to be automatically renewed with just a few simple clicks on the new Credentials Options page.

Platform managers will be able to choose to have credentials automatically renew immediately after final requirements have been completed, or wait until the credential’s expiration date. Once all requirements are completed, the credential sits in a “complete” status until the date of expiration, when it automatically renews. This “complete” status applies to all credentials, not just those set up to automatically renew.

“The Auto Renewal enhancement increases the platforms ability to run itself after implementation,” said TargetSolutions’ Product Manager Misty Pratt. “It also corrects several issues users experience with credentials and alert e-mails. While these changes are simple in concept, they represent a huge leap in the usefulness of Credentials as a whole.”

Alerts can now be created to notify users and platform managers that the requirements of a credential have been completed. Additionally, once a credential’s requirements have been fulfilled, administrators and users will no longer receive e-mail alerts and the credential will no longer appear in the user’s schedule.

Platform users will appreciate a reduction in e-mails, as well as less clutter on their home page alerting them to credentials that have already been completed.

“These changes were some of our most commonly requested enhancements and were happy to be able to release them,” Pratt said. “We’re constantly striving to implement changes requested by our clients. These changes in particular are excellent for the platform and we think they will be universally appreciated.”

The new Credentials Options page gives platform managers more flexibility in the viewing and editing of credentials by users, including a setting to completely hide a credential from the users schedule and a much more granular set of editing options.

“Every decision we make is meant to make the platform more user friendly,” Pratt said. “We believe that’s what this newest Credentials upgrade accomplishes.”

If you have any questions about this new release, please don’t hesitate to contact us today.

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

Looking to Remain Organized, Efficient and Compliant, Canadian Department Turns to TargetSolutions

Mississauga Fire and Emergenc Services

Mississauga Fire and Emergency Services was originally established in 1974. To this day, it carries the same mission statement: To protect life, property and the environment in Mississauga from all perils, through education, prevention, investigation, training, rescue, fire suppression, dangerous goods containment and life support services.

The department’s responsibilities include serving more than 740,000 citizens spread across 288-square kilometers. With a team of 616 members across 20 stations, the department responds to more than 25,000 calls per year.

In order to properly protect the community, Mississauga must be well-trained and well-prepared for duty every day. The department implemented TargetSolutions in October of 2006 to help remain organized, efficient and compliant. To that effect, the industry’s leading online training and records management system has complemented the department’s hands-on training techniques, while replacing a paper-based system for maintaining compliance records.

From the beginning, our main interest was streamlining recordkeeping, said Matheson. The ability to easily produce training reports was our initial need.

Although TargetSolutions is based in the United States, its platform’s capabilities stretch beyond its borders. That’s why Global Risk Innovations works to bring the powerful training management tools to departments like Mississauga in the Canadian market. Division Chief Shawn Matheson, who is responsible for all of Mississauga’s various training needs, has found value in the platform.

Mississauga has benefited from TargetSolutions’ reporting functionality, specifically the ability to create detailed reports of completed training activities. TargetSolutions provides innovative tools that allow departments like Mississauga to consistently distribute training material. The department is even able to take real-life incidents and turn them into online courses.

“We recently responded to a house fire that had a lot of different outcomes as far as lessons learned for our staff. We were able to take pictures and information from that incident and turn it into a custom activity course by importing a PowerPoint slideshow onto TargetSolutions.”

Shawn Matheson, Division Chief

Matheson also mentioned the department’s use of custom tests to enhance the learning experience for personnel. Custom tests provide an excellent way to ensure that the employee adequately understands the course material and is proficient in that particular area.

“We are able to create various forms of learning and then back up the material with a quiz,” Matheson said. “The custom activities that we create on the TargetSolutions platform become part of our annual training curriculum. We have a certain amount of training that we expect from our firefighters on a continuing education basis and a large portion of that is going out on the TargetSolutions system.”

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

Make Training Management More Efficient by Creating Categories and Groups Inside TargetSolutions

Organizations can customize their TargetSolutions account by creating categories and groups inside the platform. This helps platform managers regulate activity by defining groups and assigning supervisors to oversee those groups.

Organizations can add as many categories and groups as they would like. When establishing categories it is helpful for administrators to consider how they intend to designate supervisory rights, run reports and assign courses. To assign training to just the B shift, for example, be sure to create a group for B in the shift category. Platform managers may also want to ask some of the following questions:

Which groups belong in each category?

Where are supervisors?

Will the category selection be a user fill-in response?

Platform managers will need to contact TargetSolutions to create or remove categories. Examples of categories include: department, division and job title. Once categories are established, platform managers can fill them with groups.

Creating categories and groups can make training management more efficient. Doing so permits platform managers to quickly assign courses and establish supervisory rights depending on how their organization is set up.

For more information or if you have any questions, please contact TargetSolutions or your account manager directly.

Managing TargetSolutions’ Mandatory Timer Requirement for Continuing Education Credit

TargetSolutions timer requirement has been an issue for some clients. But the timer system was put in for good reason.

All courses taken for EMT continuing education credit with a TargetSolutions accredited certificate issued upon completion have a timer set for at least 25 minutes, but could be higher if mandated by a regulatory agency. And in states where a course is approved for continuing education, the timer currently must remain in place, even if the online EMT training course is only being used for review and the user does not want a certificate.

“We take our accreditation with regulatory agencies very seriously, but at the same time we do not want to alienate users for the sake of compliance,” said Content Architect Jeremy Lynch. “Because of this, we walk a fine line of delivering the appropriate amount of accredited content that meets the minimum time required to get credit for the course.”

Here’s how TargetSolutions timer works: The amount of time a user spends on a slide is the amount of time they receive toward the time requirement with a maximum of five minutes per slide. If they spend 30 seconds on a slide, they get 30 seconds of credit toward the time requirement.

If a user ever reaches the end of the course and has not fulfilled the time requirement to take the exam, Lynch recommends users go back and spend more time on each slide, rather than quickly navigating through each page of the course again. “This will help ensure they meet the mandatory time requirement,” he said.

Seminole County Division Chief Praises TargetSolutions’ Powerful Applications We Couldnt Live Without It

The Seminole County Fire Department has grown into one of the largest departments in Central Florida. The department has existed since 1974 with one goal: To serve the community and improve the quality of life for more than 422,000 citizens who live in the county. That goal is made clear in the department’s mission statement: “5 Minute Response Time. Trained Personnel. Adequate Resources. Constant Prevention. Go Home Safe.”

But with 18 stations, nearly 400 personnel, and 30,000-plus service calls to respond to annually, the department has a great deal of responsibility. Maintaining an organized, well-trained crew is vital to the efficiency of the department.

Prior to joining TargetSolutions in January 2009, tracking training was a cumbersome task. The department was forced to rely on extra staffing to monitor and enforce all of its training needs.

“We had to have multiple databases, as well as multiple assistants to track credentials,” said Division Chief of Professional Standards Todd Gaddy. “We had to have someone to look at the calendar and see who was ready to expire, and then notify the people on that list by manually sending e-mails. The process kept us from being as compliant as we are currently.”

The implementation of TargetSolutions has helped eliminate the need for some of the staff-hours that it previously took to manage the organization. With the industry’s leading online training and records management system at its disposal, the department relies on automatic e-mail alerts to notify personnel when they are coming up on an expiring credential.

“We have it set up with a supervisory chain of command,” said Gaddy. “When the credential gets closer to the deadline, it notifies the supervisors.”

Another feature Seminole County uses to maintain compliance is e-signatures on organizational documents.

“When we send out operation bulletins, safety bulletins, and other important documents, we make sure to include the e-signature,” said Gaddy. “It allows us to ensure that all of the firefighters opened the document and clicked to indicate that they understand. Nobody can say they never got it anymore.”

The ability to send out documents with a web-based solution has helped the department maintain compliance, while completely eliminating paper files.

The department has also made great use of the Activities Builder application within TargetSolutions. With nearly 900 custom activities created, the department has found its solution for documenting hands-on training, as well as delivering department-created material.

“Instead of gathering everybody and going to a different station to receive training, or an introduction to a new product, we can create a PowerPoint presentation and share it as a custom activity,” said Gaddy. “Firefighters then have the ability to reference the PowerPoint at any time down the road.”

The department has done an excellent job of maximizing TargetSolutions’ capabilities within the organization.

“We couldn’t live without it,” Gaddy said.

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

TargetSolutions Works Its Way Across Country with Special User Group Training Events

For years, TargetSolutions has hosted user group training events all across the country. But in 2013, we’ve picked it up a notch. Over the last few months, we’ve held events in California, Arizona, Florida, Georgia, Indiana, Michigan, Illinois, Wisconsin, Connecticut and Missouri. This week, we’re holding three more: a User Group on Tuesday at Wesley Chapel Volunteer Fire Department in North Carolina and two special Company Officer Training Seminars in South Carolina with Product Specialist Tim Riley on Thursday and Friday.

These special training events are held with one goal in mind: To educate clients on how they can maximize TargetSolutions online training management system.

The sessions are hosted at clients departments and various training topics are covered. Whether its a new release, a platform enhancement, the ISO Training Tracker, or general tips and tricks, there is always something to talk about.

Platform managers come together to learn what other platform managers are doing with the platform. These events are valuable for clients as they share personal success stories and listen to their peers, gaining insight into the system. Christine Boozer, who is a civilian training officer with Fresno Fire Department in California, attended a user group session in San Diego and came away with several new ideas.

I thought the user group went well, Boozer said. It was great because we got a couple tips out of it. I had not thought of using certificates for anything beyond what is necessary for EMT. So, using certificates for our USAR teams, for their dive requirements; or using them for our specialty teams for the instructors would be great. I always get something out of these user groups that I did not know before.

We believe user groups are pivotal to our clients successthats why TargetSolutions is so committed to regularly hosting them. We hope you are able to attend one in the future! Please keep an eye out for e-mails from TargetSolutions about upcoming events in your area! And if you would like more information about this week’s events in North Carolina and South Carolina, please contact us today.

Confirm Accuracy of Records with ‘Require Validation’ Setting in Activities Builder

Did you know platform managers can review a completion prior to it becoming a record? They can by selecting the require validation setting in activities builder when building a custom activity. This allows administrators and supervisors to confirm information submitted by users is accurate before recording in the users history.

Any activity completed with this setting will have to be validated by platform managers before it is accepted as complete. The administrator (or supervisor who has validating rights) will click on the Validate Completions icon on their administration tab. The next step is finding users to validate through the Users Select page, which makes it easy to select multiple users at one time.

After users are selected, a list of activities waiting to be validated for those individuals will appear. There are three options at this point: Validate, reject, or delete a completed activity. If rejecting an activity, you will be given the opportunity to provide instructions to the user for re-submission. Please remember activities waiting to be validated will not show up in the users history. So, if a user asks why their completed activities are not showing in their history, this could be the case.

If you have questions about the Require Validation setting in Activities Builder, or any part of the TargetSolutions platform, please check the Help Section or contact us directly.


‘Require validation upon completion’ selection is under Options while building a custom activity.


TargetSolutions’ E-signature Functionality Helps Organizations Ensure Accountability

TargetSolutions allows administrators the ability to upload policies, videos and other documents for users to review. They can then place the file into a custom activity and assign it out to their users, requiring an e-signature. When the user reviews the item, they are required to provide an e-signature confirming they reviewed the attached file.

The system also has a security measure to verify users don’t check the e-signature box without opening the file. If the attached file is not opened, the box will be grayed out and restricted from being checked off. If the file is a video, it will have to play through to the end before the e-signature box is activated.

To send out a policy, video, or other file for review and require an e-signature functionality, you will need to upload the file to the File Center. After the file has been uploaded to the File Center, you will need to create a custom activity with the Activities Builder application. Once an activity has been created, it can be assigned to users through the Create New Assignments application.

If you have any questions about how to operate this tool, please contact us today!


E-signature functionality ensure users have received, reviewed and completed various activities that are required.