Polk County Fire Rescue is one of the largest fire departments in the state of Florida. With 45 stations and more than 600 personnel members, the department responds to more than 83,000 calls each year. In order to provide the surrounding communities the most excellent service possible, the department looks to train and educate its members in the most effective way possible.
With such a large department and needing to meet critical training requirements, Polk County is unable to rely on old-fashioned methods for tracking employee training records. Deputy Chief of Safety and Training Mike Linkins is a 28-year veteran of the fire service who realized having members submit paperwork to document training was no longer the answer.
“Our people were doing their training, but not recording it,” said Linkins. “The numbers we were reporting were consistently lower than our expectations.”
In March of 2009, Polk County Fire Rescue turned to TargetSolutions’ easy-to-use online fire training system to enhance the entire process of tracking training. The results were tremendous, Linkins said. “When we saw how you could track training with TargetSolutions, we were astonished,” said Linkins. “The numbers went through the roof.”
In addition to tracking training records, TargetSolutions helped Polk County eliminate costly and less efficient classroom and lecture training without getting away from hands-on firefighter training. Instead, the department sends its personnel TargetSolutions’ online coursework, which ensures all of the background information and education culminates in a hands-on training session. Previously, Polk County spent hours reviewing didactic information before actually beginning hands-on drills. Now, when there are live drills and other hands-on training, there is no wasted time before starting.
“TargetSolutions allows us to pre-assign all of that information so that everyone is ready to go once we arrive on-site. It has helped us maximize the effectiveness of our hands-on training. It’s really been a morale booster for us.”
Mike Linkins, Deputy Chief of Safety and Training
A major component of the TargetSolutions platform is the fire department ISO solution, in which Polk County Fire Rescue was an instrumental part of creating. Now, the department is able to utilize the ready-made training template to track the training exactly the way ISO wants. Linkins expects utilization of TargetSolutions’ ISO tracking and reporting tools to help the department achieve a fantastic score in the training section of ISO’s next inspection.
“We set internal ISO goals for training and we report to our Battalion Chiefs on a monthly basis,” said Linkins. “This allows us to see who is on target and who is not. It has really helped us keep the organization on track.”
Polk County Fire Rescue’s dedication to service and innovation has resulted in tremendous utilization of TargetSolutions. Everyone in the organization, including non-emergency responding employees from civilian departments, uses the platform.
“We are a 100 percent TargetSolutions organization,” said Linkins. “If you are a member in any capacity, you get a TargetSolutions account.”
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.