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Easily Track Offline Training Locations, Instructors, and More with TargetSolutions’ Online Fire Training System

TargetSolutions often hears from clients looking to generate detailed reports on training information. For instance, one of the most common requests is how to track the number of hours an instructor has received during a period of time. Some platform managers will ask how they can capture various locations used during training.

But what happens when these questions are delivered electronically using multiple choice answers? That’s one area where report generation can get complicated. Fortunately, TargetSolutions’ online fire training system’s Component Completions report does the heavy lifting.
This tool allows departments to easily calculate data accumulated through multiple choices. Using the Activities Builder, departments can ask layered questions – like what were the various objectives covered during training (ropes, ladders, hoses, etc.)? After receiving responses, they can generate comprehensive reports detailing the different answers.
So the next time your state requests the number of hours completed by a specific instructor, or at a specific training location, and your users had multiple choices when answering the initial question – you’ll be able to gather that information with the Component Completions report to capture that data.
If you have any questions about utilizing this tool, please contact TargetSolutions at (800) 840-8048.


Enhancements Make File Upload Tool Inside File Center More Mobile and User Friendly

TargetSolutions has taken steps to improve its File Upload tool inside the computer-based training system’s robust electronic storage application called the File Center.
The upload tool is no longer flash-based, so it is compatible with mobile devices like the iPhone. Platform managers and users can now capture pictures during a training session – or any other activity – with their iPhone and then upload those images into the File Center to share with their department.
In addition, steps have been taken to enhance upload times and improve overall usability. The tool now features drag-and-drop functionality and an upload status bar that tracks progress during uploads.
Also, when uploading an Articulate or SCORM file, there is a new link to streamline the process. After a course is uploaded, you will still be able to enter additional information about the course.
“Recent enhancements to the File Upload tool were made to make the users experience better,” said Product Manager Misty Pratt. “Previously when uploading a file, a user wouldn’t know how long it was going to take until completion. Now, the progress bar lets them know. Also, the drag-and-drop feature is nice for uploading multiple files.”
If you have any questions about this feature, please contact us today at (800) 840-8048.

Three Clients Take Home Special Awards at TargetSolutions’ Annual Firehouse World User Group

A few blocks down the street from the hustle and bustle of the annual Firehouse World conference in San Diego, a room full of TargetSolutions’ clients attended a special user group on Wednesday (Feb. 19). The room was filled with platform managers looking to learn more about the online fire training system’s tools for managing fire department training.
Three of the attendees were honored during the annual awards portion of the event for their extraordinary contributions to TargetSolutions. Chuck Montgomery of Glendale Fire Department (Ariz.), Jay Sumerlin of West Pierce Fire & Rescue (Wash.), and Charles Truvillion of Kern County Fire Department (Calif.) each received an award for their various efforts.
The Helping Hand Award
Montgomery was given the Helping Hand Award, which goes to an individual who goes above and beyond to assist TargetSolutions with the improvement of the platform. Montgomery’s department has been using TargetSolutions for more than 14 years and is one of the very first clients to implement the system. Over the years, Montgomery pushed hard for the creation of a course that would meet NFPA 1403 standards, which TargetSolutions released in late 2013.
The NFPA 1403 Live Fire Training Evolutions course reviews live-burn evolutions and emphasizes the importance of safety with state regulations, NFPA standards, and local policies and procedures established to maintain training effectiveness without compromising safety.
“The award to me is a very nice honor and acknowledgement of my efforts to make the fire world a little bit safer for operations,” Montgomery said.
The Technical Achievement Award
Sumerlin, who was one of the special guest presenters during the user group, took home the prestigious Technical Achievement Award for his dedication to building custom content and delivering it with the TargetSolutions platform. During his presentation, Sumerlin spoke about the powerful ways his department is using TargetSolutions to streamline training management and provide personnel with impactful, customized training.
Sumerlin uses various third-party applications, including Articulate, to create training presentations that feature voiceovers and photos. His effort to become proficient with the various applications for content creation made him the choice for this award.
“Technology is one of those things that I’ve always had as a passion – and it is kind of cool to be recognized for that,” Sumerlin said. “I really think it’s the time right now, in the fire services, to lean toward technology and balance technology with actual hands-on skills.
“We have to reach a younger generation. You have the old school fire service where everything has to be hands-on, and then you have the young people that are very tech-savvy. Being able to hold their attention is a transitional period.”
Like Montgomery, Sumerlin spoke about the value he sees in TargetSolutions’ online training courses, especially the NFPA library. “I really enjoy TargetSolutions’ (NFPA) 1001 and 1021 series,” he said. “I look forward to seeing TargetSolutions move forward and look at other NFPA (courses), and creating content for the fire service in particular.”
The Perseverance Award
Truvillion captured the inaugural Perseverance Award for his department’s dedication to fully implementing TargetSolutions’ fire department software and overcoming several challenges early on during the process. Today, the department is making great progress utilizing the system, Truvillion said.
“We can deliver (training) within Kern County’s 8,000-square miles, 46 stations,” he said. “The biggest issue is keeping our engines in their response areas and those kinds of things. And then consistency in our training – (TargetSolutions) just really does it for us. Being able to pull that data, to give those reports to our JAC program, or the college. As well as make sure we got everything covered for OSHA and ISO. I mean, it’s big.”
The User Group Workshop
In addition to the awards, TargetSolutions representatives used the special gathering as an opportunity to show off the online fire training platform’s latest enhancements, provide an overview of the EMS continuing education content and EMS recertification tracking tools, answer any questions, and provide tips and tricks for navigating the system.
Also, Jake Pelk of Central San Mateo County Training Division (Calif.) was a special guest presenter who spoke about his department’s ability to track controlled substances with TargetSolutions. One of Pelk’s goals is to become completely “paperless” and with TargetSolutions they are headed that direction. He also touched on the capabilities of Community Resources and the ability to utilize e-signatures for recordkeeping purposes.
“It was great to have so many different departments this year,” said TargetSolutions Account Manager Kegan Konrady. “I think the diverse group made the event more interesting. The conversation about custom content today was great. You see a lot of departments who are using custom content with TargetSolutions. When Jay Sumerlin went up and did his presentation on his hazard training, I could tell he opened a lot of eyes. As did Jake talking about controlled substances.
“I think the more you can get departments pushing custom content with TargetSoutions, the better. People are more likely to stay engaged when they see a copy of something they know or a person in the video from their department. That’s a great tool for training.”
About TargetSolutions
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.

Ability to Deliver Pre-Training a Huge Benefit for Alachua County Fire Rescue

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.”

About TargetSolutions
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 to Host a Special User Group During Firehouse World

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!

Generate Smarter Data with Test Builder Application’s Enhanced Reporting Capabilities

Have you been hoping to see more functionality added to TargetSolutions’ Test Builder application? If you have wanted to thoroughly analyze and query test data to gain a better understanding of how your personnel are performing, you’re going to love the latest upgrades to the online fire training system’s testing application.
TargetSolutions has released two new reports (Test Completions and Test Analysis inside Generate Reports) that enable platform managers to gather results for individual test completions, as well as retrieve a comprehensive analysis of any question answered by users in a test built with the Test Builder application.
test textWith this detailed reporting functionality, platform managers are able to see the percentage of users who answered an individual question correctly, while also discovering weaknesses in test questions and commonalities in responses. Departments can gain a better understanding of where personnel stand by analyzing the data.
“Platform managers will now be able to more accurately gauge the effectiveness of their test questions,” said TargetSolutions Product Manager Misty Pratt. “It’s also a way to do post-test reviews with individuals to identify any knowledge gaps.”
After completing a test, platform managers can review completed tests with users, understand where they may need additional studying, and advise before the user retakes the test. The reports are generated in an easy-to-read format and can be printed in bulk.
“This tool is an amazing quantifier to know if I am writing the test questions correctly, and also to know if the EMS providers get the question,” said Ryan Grebe, who serves as EMS training coordinator for Orange County Emergency Services in North Carolina.
“Once I had a chance to really play with it, I have found several uses for this new tool. For instance, by using this tool we take huge leap forward in validating our exam, and other test questions. This leads us to make better tests that will truly evaluate the competency of the EMS provider so that they are more equipped to apply the knowledge. We then can use this to redirect our training efforts to things that will require more of our attention.”
If you would like more information on the enhanced reporting capabilities of TargetSolutions’ Test Builder application, please contact us today.
New reporting capabilities enable platform managers to retrieve a comprehensive analysis of any question answered by users in a test built with the Test Builder application.

Records Management System Tracks Mandatory Documentation During Hiring Process

Are you onboarding staff with endless stacks of paper documentation? Is storing that information in-house, in a file cabinet or desk drawer, taking up valuable space?
If so, your organization is like many others: At risk and in need of strategy to go paperless.
One of TargetSolutions’ most useful tools for risk managers is its New Hire Onboarding Solution, which combines the File Center, Activities Builder and Manage Credentials applications together in a powerful way. These online records management tools work cohesively to streamline the delivery and recordkeeping aspects of mandatory documentation during the hiring process.
TargetSolutions also features automatic alert notifications to ensure key stakeholders, including hiring managers and new employees, are on task to meet requirements. After receiving the electronic assignment with attached documentation – whether it’s a handbook, organizational policy, or anything else that needs to be logged – the employee can authorize with an e-signature, creating a paper-free tracking process. Even better, each assignment’s status can be monitored in real-time with completion reports.
Hiring managers will also take comfort knowing their employees’ training records are online. After all, paper is destructible, expensive, it takes up valuable real estate, it’s difficult to transport. The list of issues with the “old-school” way of doing business is long and lengthy.
“New hire onboarding information required at the time an employee starts can quickly become a mountain of unmanageable documentation,” said Kelly Zielinski, who serves as TargetSolutions’ Strategic Risk Business Unit Manager. “The misplacement of a signed document or unintentional damage to an original document can be disastrous for an organization.”
“Fortunately, TargetSolutions provides an easy-to-use records and information management solution that makes recordkeeping far simpler and less expensive And of course, our full suite of online health and safety training courses make it easy to get new hires trained and on the job fast.”
If you’re not already using TargetSolutions’ New Hire Onboarding Solution, contact us today to learn more.

New Course Helps Educators Deal with Unpredictable Behavior in Special Education Classrooms

Learning proper techniques for managing students with disabilities is critical for teachers and school district personnel tasked with helping special needs children. TargetSolutions is pleased to offer a new course in its online training library for K-12 Education, titled “Proper Use of Seclusion and Restraint.”
This course delivers valuable information for educators dealing with unpredictable behavior, including special education classrooms. Seclusion and restraint, however, are typically last resorts, and educators must adhere to strict district policies if these procedures are used.
“Disciplining today’s young people in a non-parental situation is becoming more and more difficult,” said TargetSolutions’ Content Architect Jeremy Lynch. “And while handling tough situations is never black and white, there are rules that can be followed to protect everyone. We built this course to offer at least guidelines for teachers and school district personnel to follow when students’ behavior becomes a challenge.”
This computer-based training course consists of a 20-minute overview featuring five learning modules, as well as a 10-question exam. TargetSolutions’ online safety training courses are created by subject experts and feature real-world case studies that provide teachers and school district employees with the knowledge they need to reduce liability in the K-12 setting.
“Now more than ever educators need support and training that focuses on all aspects of the classroom,” said Kelly Zielinski, who serves as TargetSolutions’ Strategic Risk Business Unit Manager. “TargetSolutions’ Proper Use of Seclusion and Restraint course provides real-life guidance to ensure both educators and students are supported through potentially difficult situations.”

Virginia Department Sees Huge Jump in Training Hours Logged with TargetSolutions’ Fire Department Software

Martinsville Fire & EMS is dedicated to serving more than 13,000 individuals across the Virginia city’s 11-square miles on a daily basis. With two stations and 45 personnel members, the department responds to approximately 3,100 calls per year. Maintaining a well-trained staff that combines career and volunteer members is crucial to the organizations’ ability to provide excellent service to its community.
Martinsville Fire & EMS implemented TargetSolutions online fire department training to take full advantage of the platform’s web-based fire courses and recordkeeping tools. According to the department’s Deputy Chief Kristopher Shrader, it didn’t even take a full calendar year to begin experiencing exceptional results. After signing on, company officers began to enter their daily training activities into TargetSolutions and the department immediately experienced huge dividends.
“Prior to using TargetSolutions, we were logging about 100 hours of training each month,” Shrader said. “In our first month with the TargetSolutions system, we recorded about 500 hours.”
The increased efficiencies and recordkeeping with TargetSolutions further exposed the flaws of attempting to manually log employee training records and other compliance-related documents, Shrader said. Eliminating endless paperwork with fire department software has benefited the department. In the past, Martinsville found it difficult to keep everything organized.
“Records were everywhere,” said Shrader. “Files could be in a cabinet at one station one day and at the other station the next. There were tons and tons of paperwork.”
Not only did Shrader and the rest of the department realize how much firefighter training was slipping through the cracks and going unreported, but the use of TargetSolutions’ web-based fire courses and recordkeeping also helped expedite the reporting process.
“It used to take days to compile and record training information for the month,” said Shrader. “Now, I can gather the same information in about five minutes.”
With TargetSolutions, recording and reporting important information like daily apparatus checks is simplified. Taking a smartphone or other tablet device to inspections gives Martinsville’s personnel immediate access to TargetSolutions’ convenient online fire department software.
“If someone is checking a truck and there’s a deficiency, they can fill out the form on the iPad, click ‘Submit,’ and it goes directly to the supervisor,” said Shrader. “Before we used TargetSolutions, sometimes the report wouldn’t make it to the supervisor.”
Martinsville is excited to put TargetSolutions’ fire department ISO solution to work in preparation for its next ISO inspection. TargetSolutions’ ready-made ISO templates are designed to give ISO exactly what it needs when analyzing training reports. Shrader is confident the ISO tracking solution will simplify the entire process.
“I can’t even begin to figure how long it took to calculate ISO hours,” Shrader said. “With TargetSolutions, I can click a few buttons and it’s done. I’ve already got folks who have completed their yearly ISO activities. I’ve never had that happen before.
“As we continue to build (the TargetSolutions platform) out, it’s going to get even better. I can’t even begin to think about how much time it’s going to save.”
About TargetSolutions
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.

A Deeper Look Into TargetSolutions’ Fire Department ISO Tracking Tool

Training and administrative personnel will tell you a review by the Insurance Services Office (ISO) can be extremely stressful. Most agencies rely on decentralized recordkeeping methods, or stacks of paper in a file cabinet – both of which require significant time and effort for submitting records to the ISO field representative.
Fortunately, there is a powerful ISO tracking tool for managing training compliance and records management – a tool that allows tracking of records that are compliant with fire department ISO requirements, but also the easy delivery of pre-made, ISO-compliant training to personnel: TargetSolutions’ ISO Training Tracker.
The tool itself is elegant, simple, and easy-to-use. As part of TargetSolutions’ online fire training management system, the ISO Training Tracker allows training to be assigned to each member of an agency, with the capability to assign certain classes of training to groups of personnel depending upon their qualifications and rank. The ISO Training Tracker comes with a set of activities that were created expressly for the needs of ISO-required training sessions – and informally vetted by local ISO field representatives to ensure compliance.
The process of using the system is simple. Let’s say you have an ISO training activity involving a number of personnel. In the past, that meant having a sign-in-sheet, or similar manual tracking system. With TargetSolutions, however, the designated training officer (or company supervisor) simply verifies personnel who were previously assigned to the activity, and notified through the system, were in fact in attendance.
From there, the system makes a record in the individual’s file within the database that can be pulled as part of an automated report, or viewed individually if needed. Additionally, the system is “smart” in terms of ISO eligibility for training – for example, if an offsite training is attended, which counts 50 percent as much as an onsite event, the system will automatically track and tabulate within an individual’s training records.
When it comes time for a review, the built-in, ISO-compliance reporting system makes pulling required reports as easy as a few clicks of the mouse. Need a custom report? Create it once and the system will save the report as a template, ready to revisit in subsequent years as needed. Want to pull a report as an Excel file to conduct your own analysis? It’s also just a few clicks away. Want to notify a department member that a certification’s expiration is coming up or a company that an ISO target hazard needs to be revisited? TargetSolutions’ ISO Training Tracker will do that automatically.
With a wide adoption already nationwide among TargetSolutions’ clients, the ISO tool is well-tested and vetted in real-world conditions by departments of widely varying sizes and compositions. A product specialist will help your agency implement this solution, and there is a demonstration version available to explore if interested, prior to any commitment. Many of TargetSolutions’ clients are excited to talk about the benefits of the powerful application.
“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
For more information on the ISO Training Tracker, please contact TargetSolutions at (800) 840-8046 to learn how your agency can stay ahead of the curve by reducing the number of staff hours needed in order to keep your department at the ISO rating it has worked so hard to attain.
About TargetSolutions
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.