Technology with a Purpose

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Welcome to TargetSolutions’ New Company Blog

This is the first post of many on our new Company Blog!ts-250-72dpi

TargetSolutions will be actively updating this blog with important information about the platform, including course information, system updates and enhancements, and utilization tricks that will help clients make the most out of the industry’s No. 1 online training and records management system.

Find us on Facebook or Twitter to make sure you never miss a blog post with the latest scoop on TargetSolutions. And if you ever have any questions about the platform and you want to contact us directly, please shoot an e-mail to or call us at (800) 840-8048.

Serving Fire Service Heroes Is Special Privilege for TargetSolutions’ Employees

During the early days of TargetSolutions’ existence, skeptics questioned whether web-based learning would be an effective tool for fire training. That was back in the late 90s when the company was first founded and the Internet was just taking off. Now, more than 700 fire departments log into the system each year.

So, what has been the driving force behind TargetSolutions’ success? For the people inside the company’s San Diego headquarters, it’s simple: A commitment to helping the heroes who serve us all.

“We exist for the public safety officials who are serving our communities,” said TargetSolutions’ CEO Jon D. Handy. “It’s important to me that people understand that we’re a company on a mission to provide technology with a purpose.”

TargetSolutions’ employees are dedicated to providing fire departments with innovative applications that help streamline training management. In fact, some employees have a personal connection to the fire service. Vice President of Operations Alex Day, who has been with the company since November of 2006, is closely tied to the industry.

Working at TargetSolutions has allowed Day to return to his roots as his father was a division chief with the Vista Fire Department (Calif.).

“I’ve been in-tune with the industry since I was a child, Day said. I remember being a kid and climbing on fire engines and going on ride-alongs. For me, to be able to serve this industry, it’s special. I feel at home.”

Annmarie Grimm, the company’s executive assistant, has been married to Escondido Fire Departments (Calif.) John Grimm for 15 years. Earlier this month, John, an engineer, was deployed to Northern California to combat wildfires for several weeks. Although time together was sacrificed, Annmarie recognizes the value her husband provides to the community.

“The way I look at it, he doesn’t belong to me,” Annmarie said. “He belongs to everybody. I just get to borrow him and I’m grateful for every moment we spend together.”

TargetSolutions’ commitment to the fire service helped make Annmarie’s decision to join the company easy.

“It was serendipitous,” she said. “I walked in not knowing what TargetSolutions did. The fact TargetSolutions makes a difference for the fire service, I knew it was the right place for me.”

Client Services Account Manager Ashley Cole married her husband, Jeffrey Cole, an engineer with the Poway Fire Department (Calif.), in May of 2012. Ashley’s relationship with Jeffrey has given her a tremendous appreciation for the fire industry.

“He loves what he does – it’s not just a job to him,” Cole said. “I’m surrounded by the fire industry. It’s really become a huge part of my life. I know how important their job is to them and that makes me feel like my job is really important because it impacts them.”

The universal sentiment at TargetSolutions is that serving emergency responders is a privilege. Making a difference in the lives of those who make such a huge impact on our communities is special.

The company recognizes and appreciates the hard-work and bravery it takes to be a firefighter and is looking forward to continue providing innovative solutions to the men and women who serve our communities.

About TargetSolutions
Founded in 1999, TargetSolutions is the leader in online training and records management for public entities. More than 2,000 organizations across the country use our technology to solve their training needs. We work hard every day to understand our clients’ challenges and deliver powerful tools that save time and money.

Survey Shows Need for Powerful Record Keeping Tools in Fire Service

TargetSolutions is the leading provider for online training and records management in the fire service. With more than 250 hours of Fire and EMS recertification courses in our library and powerful, easy-to-use applications and reporting tools, it’s easy to see why.

Miller Pierce, a marketing agency based in Indianapolis, recently conducted a survey to determine which aspects of web-based record keeping benefit users the most. Here are some of the top features reported in the survey (in no particular order):

>> Notification system
>> Progress tracker
>> Top level reports/monthly reports
>> Ability to share information with other departments
>> Easy to use and accessible
>> Can be customized
>> Capacity to access historical data

The TargetSolutions platform delivers all of these benefits — and more. Whether it’s an online training course, a regular inspection, a mandatory SOP, or a particular job-specific duty, you can assign it to employees, track their progress and generate comprehensive reports with TargetSolutions’ powerful record keeping tools.

“Tracking and standardizing training, whether for renewing a certification, a qualification, or ISO, has never been easier or more efficient than with our TargetSolutions system,” said Tim Riley, who is the chief for Dunedin Fire Department in Florida.

Here’s a quick overview of what TargetSolutions’ cutting-edge records management system provides:

ISO and ARFF Tracking
With TargetSolutions, tracking and reporting training for important audits like ISO and ARFF is simplified. TargetSolutions provides access to ready-made and customizable training templates created just for ISO. You can also deliver the FAA’s ARFF Training DVD through TargetSolutions. After delivering these activities, TargetSolutions will electronically track records so you can generate comprehensive training reports when necessary.

Training Documentation
With TargetSolutions you have the ability to create any type of training documentation you want and attach it to any activity or course. Require employees to use an e-signature to verify they’ve received instructions. Keep electronic files on hand. You can also generate reports on online training assignments to know where employees stand toward achieving compliance.

Department Records
Assign activities that mandate routine analysis of self-contained breathing apparatus, personal protective gear, fire truck equipment, and everything else under the firehouses roof. Or create activities for employees to complete pertaining to incidents. Keep historical records of incidents and utilize them for future training opportunities.

Alert Notifications
It’s not easy managing the renewable licenses and certifications that expire on an ongoing basis. TargetSolutions can help. Whether it’s a driver’s license, an EMT credential, or anything else, TargetSolutions tracks it and alerts you when expiration approach.

TargetSolutions’ flexible record keepong tools help departments stay compliant and reduce liability by providing the visibility they need. If you’re ready to step into the future, TargetSolutions is here to meet your record keeping needs.

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.

San Diego Fire-Rescue Department Dazzles TargetSolutions Users with Training Resources

The nice comments and high ratings just keep pouring in for San Diego Fire-Rescue Department’s training resources on ventilation skills. The department posted a training video and PowerPoint presentation into TargetSolutions’ Community Resources in August of 2009 and three years later both of the items are still popular with the online platforms network of users.

The PowerPoint presentation, titled SDFD Ventilation Training, is the most viewed resource in the history of Community Resources. The presentation narrated by SDFDs Curtis Bennett, has been viewed more than 7,000 times, is being utilized by 86 different organizations and has an outstanding 4star rating (out of five). The video, titled Ventilation Skills, a companion video created by SDFD, has more than 4,000 views and the same 4star rating. There are 81 different organizations using this particular video resource.

Jeff Clyons, who worked as the department’s assistant training officer when the videos were created and was interviewed about them soon after their creation, said his department’s firefighters were having issues with ventilation during several fires, so it attacked the issue with a multi-pronged training approach. The department spent three months focusing on ventilation by incorporating the PowerPoint and video with in-station drills and an in-service training session where crews had the chance to work with chainsaws during a manipulative drill.

“We realized our recruits had learned one way to cut a hole in a roof and we realized when they got out in operations, that one way was restricting their ability to do other things,” said Clyons. “It was limiting what our personnel were doing when it came to ventilating a roof. So we wanted to teach our existing personnel multiple ways to do this. We wanted to raise the bar on our ability to use a saw and raise the bar on cutting holes. Ventilation is an extremely risky and dangerous proposition so it was definitely something we were concerned with. I think we were lucky we didn’t have more incidents in the past. But to avoid those in the future, we wanted to make sure everyone was very well trained.”

Clyons reported considerable improvement in the quality of operations after the fire department training. He believed the high-quality resources SDFD has generously shared with TargetSolutions’ community are a major factor for the significant strides in performance.

Our message was well received, he said. I think it assisted people who were tactile learners, people who were visual learners, and people who were a
uditory learners. They all had a chance and it hit all the senses, so we definitely felt retention was better.

Clearly, SDFD isn’t the only department that benefited from the online fire training. TargetSolutions has received numerous complimentary comments from other clients about the quality of SDFDs presentations. Here’s a sample:

>> Great video! Was a great refresher, said Tom Fritz of Palm Harbor Fire Rescue.

>> This is a good video for new and veteran firefighter to refresh on the basics, said David Ramirez of the Fresno Fire Department.

>> I learned some new cut techniques that I will put to use on future incidents, said Jordan Motta of Cal Fire Riverside County.

Clyons said his department will look to continue doing that type of multi-pronged approach with quality video presentations in the future.

“I think it’s important to try and make the videos entertaining,” Clyons said. “I think the narration of the PowerPoints provides visualization, so tslogo_symbol-color-smallyou’re not just seeing a slide, but you have the audio explaining it. That helps. And the beauty is that because it’s online, any company officer can pull it up at any time and drill on it again.”

TargetSolutions’ Community Resources application gives departments the ability to easily download, modify and assign shared resources like SDFD’s ventilation submissions with just a few clicks of the mouse. Organizations can import any of the files, videos or other documents from Community Resources into their organizations File Center and then modify and assign to employees through TargetSolutions’ Activities Builder.

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’ Generate Reports Application Now Features Enhanced Searching Capabilities

With more than 250 hours of accredited Fire and EMS recertification courses in our web-based library, it’s easy to understand how TargetSolutions became the industry’s leading online training provider.

Innovative technology applications also help TargetSolutions stand high above the competition and one of the most useful tools, Generate Reports, recently underwent significant changes that site administrators will be excited to hear.

Generate Reports, which is accessible to users from the Administration tab inside the platform, has enabled administrators and supervisors to run a suite of reports that gather various types of user data, including Completions, Incomplete Assignments, Credentials and much more. Now, administrators and supervisors will have unprecedented control over searching to easily command the information they desire.

TargetSolutions’ team of engineers have made several interface upgrades, making the Generate Reports application more intuitive. They’ve also created the ability for administrators and supervisors to run reports on individual users, search more thoroughly with additional filters and utilize components more effectively.

“These changes have definitely improved the Generate Reports application,” said Product Manager Misty Pratt. “It’s now easier than ever for administrators to capture the exact type of information they need. It’s going to be a huge time saver for everyone. The new search and filter capabilities are really impressive.”

In addition to the upgrades made on the Generate Reports application, TargetSolutions has advanced the File Centers wherewithal, modernizing the speed of the upload process. It’s also now possible to upload multiple files at the same time.

Site administrators will also no longer receive duplicated e-mail notification alerts on the same credential for different users. When multiple users need to take action on the same credential they will now be combined into one e-mail to administrators.

Also, TargetSolutions has discontinued the monthly summary report for users. They will now periodic inactivity reminders instead.

And lastly, administrators now have the ability to notify users of a new assignment directly from the Create New Assignment application. They can also choose to send a notification when that assignment becomes overdue.

If you’d like more information on these upgrades or applications, please feel free to contact your TargetSolutions account manager or view the Help section located on the top navigation bar inside the platform.

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.

Survey Highlights Benefits of Online Training

slider-main.pngTargetSolutions recently facilitated the completion of an interesting marketing survey in which respondents described their favorite benefits associated with online training. Here are some of the top features reported in the survey (in no particular order):

  • User friendliness of completing training online
  • Interesting videos in courses
  • Personalized and self-paced ability to complete courses
  • Can add customized content to assigned courses
  • Variety and realism in videos in courses
  • Can keep records with innovative training management tools
  • Accessibility and flexibility of online training
  • Saves your place if course is not completed in one sitting
  • Cost-effective method for completing mandated training hours
  • Tests and feedback make courses interactive, challenging
  • Quick help if needed is available online
  • Self-paced so users don’t have to rush through training
  • Plentiful number of courses from leading providers

The survey, which was conducted by Miller Pierce, a marketing agency out of Indianapolis, found that nearly 50 percent of the fire service is currently using an online training provider and nearly another 30 percent are considering making the switch soon.

TargetSolutions is the industry’s pioneer and leader in web-based education as its comprehensive web-based training library features more than 1,000 training courses and more than 250 hours of Fire and EMS recertification courses. In addition to NFPA-approved content and EMS continuing education, TargetSolutions offers online training covering OSHA and Compliance, Human Resources, Water and Wastewater, Law Enforcement, Education (K-12), Driver Safety and more.

With TargetSolutions, users can complete courses 24/7 anywhere there is an Internet connection. Meeting federal, state and local mandated requirements has never been more convenient and affordable.

“The biggest benefit for us (using online training with TargetSolutions) is being able to provide consistent training on compliance topics for all our employees. Emergency response, sick days, holidays and regular days off consistently made total coverage a nightmare. With TargetSolutions, that problem is now a thing of the past. On things like sexual harassment, it was difficult. We’d bring in an expert and they would do a wonderful job, but how do you recapture that for everyone not there?”

Al Schlick, Wauconda Fire District (Ill.)

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 4,000 organizations across the country using TargetSolutions’ innovative technology to solve their training challenges.

Small Department Receives Huge Benefits With TargetSolutions

Nestled up against the Atlantic Ocean, Hinesville is a small town sitting along Georgia’s coastline. Established in 1837 in Liberty County, Hinesville is known for its tall pine trees, majestic oaks and impressive wildlife. The city is also home to the fire departments two stations that are tasked with protecting more than 30,000 residents. The department is led by Chief T. Lamar Cook, while Captain Kristian Johanson is responsible for training a 47-person staff for the obstacles emergency responders face on a regular basis.

Hinesville may be a small department, but that doesn’t prevent it from experiencing some of the same issues many bigger departments encounter keeping training structured and standardized. In the past, the department faced numerous challenges, including maintaining an organized schedule and consistent curriculum from shift to shift. Training was conducted on a random basis, and training and ISO hours were minimal and usually not tracked.

“We did not have an avenue for the members to receive training, except in a class setting — whether it was in the bay or in a classroom,” Johanson said. “We were looking for an online solution. In the past, communication was also done person-to-person and that wasn’t reliable. We wanted a platform with more transparency and consistency.”

In 2008, Hinesville Fire Department found the solution it was seeking in TargetSolutions. With the platforms expanding, high-quality course content and the powerful Activities Builder application, users were finally receiving a consistent message in training curriculum.

“The biggest problem before starting with TargetSolutions is that nothing was standardized. Everything was everyone’s own version. If the topic was extrication, it wasn’t to a standard, it was that teachers view of extrication. TargetSolutions really allowed us to get everyone on the same sheet of music. With Custom Activities, we were able to track company training, safety drills, standard-operating procedures, dissemination of vehicle ERGs and many other activities.”

Kristian Johanson, Captain

Things only got better for Johanson and his department when TargetSolutions released Credentials Manager in September 2010. This new application gave members the ability to manage their own certifications, rather than relying on management to remind them what needed to be done.

“That’s when the platform really took off,” Johanson said. “It allowed us to track every type of certification required for the department to include. When Credentials Manager came out, everyone was given the ability to see what requirements they have left and achieve them through the platform.”

Not only does TargetSolutions keep records organized, it provides quality curriculum and gives users the ability to receive continuing education units, which helps the bottom line.

“I just can’t say enough about the platform because it just does so much for us,” Johanson said. “Every month a new application seems to come out, and that makes it more usable and user-friendly.”

The platform continues to add more applications and tools all the time that have really made TargetSolutions an integral part of the Hinesville Fire Department. With the user-friendly environment and customer service that is above and beyond all, TargetSolutions is an asset for our small department.

About TargetSolutions
Founded in 1999, TargetSolutions is the leader in online training and records management for public entities. More than 2,000 organizations across the country use our technology to solve their training needs. We work hard every day to understand our clients’ challenges and deliver powerful tools that save time and money.

Registration Now Open for Upcoming User Group Workshops

TargetSolutions will be conducting two User Group Workshops in the coming weeks in an effort to help inform both prospects and existing clients about the platform. The first meeting will be Monday, July 23 at the San Jose Fire Department. A few weeks later on Friday, Aug. 3 during Fire-Rescue International in Denver, TargetSolutions will conduct another session at the Crowne Plaza.

The first event will start at 10 a.m. TargetSolutions will be discussing best practices for the platforms new, upgraded interface, demonstrating our new CICCS applications and answering questions. Several clients will be on hand to show how they are using the powerful program. A complimentary lunch will be provided.

In August at FRI, TargetSolutions will be discussing these same topics, including ISO tracking and best practices for recordkeeping, as well as conducting an in-depth Q&A. The event is scheduled from 8:30 to 11 a.m. and TargetSolutions will be hosting breakfast.

If you’re interested in attending either event or would like more information, please click here to e-mail the marketing department. We can’t wait to see you there!

“Both of these User Group Workshops are great opportunities for us to show our platforms capabilities”, said Director of Client Services Jenny Fergason. “Both sessions will be beneficial to prospects and clients. We truly enjoy spending time with clients and discussing how TargetSolutions can help a department save time and money.”

About TargetSolutions
Founded in 1999, TargetSolutions is the leader in online training and records management for public entities. More than 2,000 organizations across the country use our technology to solve their training needs. We work hard every day to understand our clients’ challenges and deliver powerful tools that save time and money.

After Buying Into Technical Wizardry, San Angelo Fire Department Experiences Improved Recordkeeping Recertification

The San Angelo Fire Department has been putting out fires since the late 1800s. The department serves a city with a population of about 100,000 deep in the heart of Texas and it is even deeper in history and tradition.

So it makes sense some of the departments veteran firefighters were a bit reluctant about training on the cloud with TargetSolutions’ web-based platform.

“Most of the guys were willing to change over and are pretty versed in computers, but some who were used to the old methods wanted to stick to their guns,” said the departments EMS Instructor Santos Elizondo. “Some of the older guys wanted to do it the old way regardless of what kind of technical wizardry came around.”

It’s times like this when the “brotherhood” really comes into play, Elizondo says. Facing some initial pushback after signing up with TargetSolutions in April of 2010, several younger employees came to the aid of their senior coworkers and helped them see the flexibility and superiority to completing mandated training requirements online.

“The younger guys brought them in and helped show them how,” Elizondo said. “It’s a brotherhood. The younger guys couldn’t do the assignments for them, but they really made it a family affair. The younger guys took care of the older guys — so while the older guys were teaching the physical side of things, the younger guys were teaching the technical side. Eventually everyone was going in the same direction.”

After overcoming these initial challenges, TargetSolutions started flourishing for the department with 163 personnel and eight stations across a territory that expands 1,500 square miles. Prior to TargetSolutions, the department was conducting its mandatory training through what Elizondo affectionately calls paper training.

“Our previous way of conducting training was tedious and archaic; it was truly a nightmare,” Elizondo said. “We wanted to find a vendor who could help us hold our personnel accountable, complete training in a timely manner and not burn down a forest every time we conducted training. There was just a massive amount of paper going out every month. After visiting with several vendors, we found the solution we needed.”

San Angelo selected TargetSolutions and immediately benefited from its robust catalog of training courses that includes 250 hours of Fire and EMS recertification material. In combination with the catalog was a recordkeeping system that streamlined the entire training management process, Elizondo said.

“Guys used to always be wondering where they were for recertification,” Elizondo said. Now they were able to get the data and an instant response to their efforts — kind of like when they are in the field and they give a drug to patient and immediately see if its working or not. With TargetSolutions they can complete an assignment and see where it is and know the data has been taken.

These powerful training tools make it easy to track training assignments and generate comprehensive reports that satisfy stringent audits, like the type conducted by ISO.

“With TargetSolutions we’re able to complete an audit faster,” Elizondo said. “With 12 to 20 people recertifying at any given time, it can really chew up time. Now with TargetSolutions, were able to do it much faster and it’s much more convenient. Guys are able to obtain their goals much easier.”

About TargetSolutions
Founded in 1999, TargetSolutions is the leader in online training and records management for public entities. More than 2,000 organizations across the country use our technology to solve their training needs. We work hard every day to understand our clients’ challenges and deliver powerful tools that save time and money.

Answers Are Just a Few Clicks Away With TargetSolutions’ New Help System

You know all about TargetSolutions’ powerful online training and records management system. But have you heard about the platforms comprehensive web-based Help System?

Site administrators and users can now stay updated with announcements and upgrades, search for useful platform-related help threads and step-by-step instructions and view support videos on TargetSolutions recently released Help System.

“Our platform is extremely user-friendly for both administrators and users, but if anyone ever has any questions, our online Help System is a great tool for finding quick answers to the most common questions clients have,” Jenny Fergason, Director of Client Services, TargetSolutions.

“The Help System can be easily accessed through the newly upgraded platform with the Help tab atop the menu bar. Clients still operating the older platform are encouraged to contact TargetSolutions client services department to upgrade. The latest Help System is only compatible with the new system,” Fergason said.

“This is another benefit to the new platform,” Fergason said. “Not only is it far more intuitive and engaging, with several new applications to help clients manage training more efficiently, but it’s complete with an integrated and constantly updated Help System.

“That’s one of the best things about this — it’s updated in real time. The platform is constantly undergoing enhancements, and with this new web-based help documentation, we can easily make changes.

“In the past we relied on a PDF document and sustaining updates was very difficult and time-consuming. We’re really excited users now have such easy access to comprehensive and reliable help information.”

The Help System currently features 30 tutorial videos — including an in-depth Administrator Basics Video — for completing various administrative tasks inside the platform. Users can also communicate with a live TargetSolutions client services representative — during normal business hours (Monday to Thursday from 8 a.m. to 5 p.m. and 8 a.m. to noon on Fridays) — through “Chat” functionality; as well as access a Web page for requesting platform enhancements.

Fergason said clients find great value in the Search capability that operates like any normal search engine. While the new system makes finding answers easier than ever before, clients are still welcome to call at any time of the day with questions on operating the platform.

“In Client Services, we pride ourselves on providing the highest level of service available,” Fergason said. “From getting your organization set up to ongoing support, you can expect nothing but the best from our team.”

About TargetSolutions
Founded in 1999, TargetSolutions is the leader in online training and records management for public entities. More than 2,000 organizations across the country use our technology to solve their training needs. We work hard every day to understand our clients’ challenges and deliver powerful tools that save time and money.