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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.


New Course Released RT-130: Annual Wildland Fire Safety Refresher


Summer is nearly upon us and for clients in many areas of the country that means burn season. Wildland fires pose a risk to both communities and to the firefighters who work to protect them. Since 1970, wildland fires are responsible for damage in excess of $20 billion and more than 200 firefighters have lost their lives in the process.

In an attempt to support our client’s efforts in fighting these fires, TargetSolutions has released RT-130: Annual Wildland Fire Safety Refresher.

The new four-module course in TargetSolutions’ online fire training course catalog, covers several aspects of wildland firefighter training, including fundamentals of safety in wildland firefighting operations, wildland fire behavior and strategies for predicting changes in behavior that could lead to hazardous conditions, situational awareness and injury prevention.

“Because of its importance, this course deservedly required all of the resources available to our content department,” said Content Architect Jeremy Lynch. “From the research to the multimedia, we used everything we could to deliver a course that will help keep both firefighters and the civilians they protect safe during fire seasons.”

Steve Prziborowski of Santa Clara County Fire Department was thrilled to learn of TargetSolutions newest release. He is already planning ways to incorporate the fire department software as pre-course training before conducting hands-on training.

“Great timing! We were actually looking at a way to do make-up classes for personnel who missed the annual RT-130 sessions we recently provided, and this looks like a great way to go, especially if we can then add an additional hands-on component for shelter deployment afterward,” said Prziborowksi, who serves as the department’s deputy chief/training. “Looking ahead, the four modules may lend themselves to a pre-course assignment prior to going out and getting some hands-on experience.”

If you have any questions about this or any other course in TargetSolutions’ online fire training catalog, please 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.

Track Completion of All JAC Training with TargetSolutions

California fire departments participating in the California Firefighter Joint Apprenticeship Committee (CFFJAC) training program can track completion of all JAC training, both TargetSolutions and other training, using TargetSolutions’ online training management platform.

TargetSolutions provides custom JAC reports for fire departments in California. To get started, you will need to notify TargetSolutions Account Manager Kegan Konrady, who manages California, and send him corresponding JAC ID numbers for individuals enrolled within JAC.

Once this is done, TargetSolutions will update your site with a JAC code builder found under Reportable Components within the Activities Builder application. This allows you to easily assign customized JAC codes to any custom activity on the platform. All TargetSolutions courses have a prebuilt JAC code attached to them that will automatically update the system when a course is completed.

The final step is to pull a JAC Monthly Submission report to send to California Firefighter Joint Apprenticeship Committee. TargetSolutions has a prebuilt report that is easily accessible under the Generate Reports tab. With just a few clicks the report is ready to be sent to California Firefighter Joint Apprenticeship Committee, which is currently working with a large number of clients and is familiar with TargetSolutions JAC reporting solution.

If you have any questions about CFFJAC or anything else related to TargetSolutions, please contact us today.

Save and Assign Tool Allows Platform Managers and Users to Complete Different Portions of Same Activity


TargetSolutions newest application, Save and Assign, goes live tonight at 11 p.m. (PST). This new tool gives administrators and supervisors the ability to partially complete different portions of the same activity. The end result is more consistent online record keeping and improved efficiency when delivering repetitive activities, including evaluations, certificates, inspections, etc.

The application, which is accessible for platform managers through the Administration tab, can be found underneath the Record Completions tool. Here are four key ways departments will be able to utilize the Save and Assign application:

Evaluation Forms: Platform managers can create an evaluation form and partially complete it before delivering to users. After receiving, users are required to respond and provide e-signatures. This eliminates paper files and gives managers more flexibility assigning the same template to multiple users.

Certificate Completions: In addition to providing platform managers and users with the ability to complete different portions of the same activity, Save and Assign relieves managers from having to upload multiple certificates on behalf of employees.

Training Records: Complete certain portions of an activity for consistency, while leaving other information for users for accuracy. For instance, complete fields like instructor or location and allow the user to enter notes or complete a class evaluation.

Group Training: Deliver videos or presentations as a group and then log any data about the session accurately. This feature requires more information from users, making online record keeping stronger in case of an audit.

TargetSolutions has created several different support articles that can be found in the Help Center. There is also a new Save and Assign Tutorial Video available in the Help Center. If you have any other questions about this tool, please contact us today!