"85% of what we do is respond to EMS calls."
Lieutenant John Tidings, Division of Training and Safety - EMS, Albany Fire Department (NY)
Although providing pre-hospital emergency care may not be the main reason many join the fire service, like the Albany Fire Department in New York, EMS calls are often the majority of calls firefighters respond to. Being cross-trained in fire suppression and EMS is essential for today's firefighters, but keeping everyone on track to meet strict EMS recertification requirements in addition to fire training can be a challenge.
As an "All Hazards" fire department, the Albany Fire Department in Albany, NY, responds to medical emergencies, HAZMAT incidents, technical rescues, and maritime emergencies, in addition to fire suppression calls.
The department's 250 career members are stationed at eight firehouses across the 27 square miles of the city of Albany, serving its roughly 100,000 residents. The specialized skills needed to protect the community require significant training time to ensure members stay competent, compliant, and safe.
Since 2014, the Albany Fire Department has leveraged the Vector LMS training management system to help manage its fire and EMS training programs.
Lieutenant John Tidings heads the EMS training program in the Division of Training and Safety at the Albany Fire Department. With 24 years in the fire service, Lt. Tidings understands how critical training is and shared how he utilizes the Credentials module in the Vector LMS platform to make sure his people are ready and able to answer the 25,000+ EMS calls they get every year.
He called out the following as key training and compliance areas where Vector LMS helps ensure his members stay on track:
Bundling related training courses and activities in a credential with the ability to set up custom alerts, due dates, and reports provides Lt. Tidings with complete insight into who is falling behind and keeps members accountable.
And like many cities, the Albany Fire Department has to comply with state and local EMS training requirements in addition to NREMT recertification requirements. With Vector LMS, the department can easily track and manage the city of Albany and New York state EMS requirements with custom credentials for their EMTs and paramedics.
By incorporating a selection of Vector's 250+ hours of CAPCE-accredited EMS continuing education courses and activities for their EMT and Paramedic credentials, every Albany FD firefighter can fulfill 100% of their EMS CE requirements for recertification online with the platform.
Lt. Tidings, who has been a paramedic for 17 years, reflected on the value of being able to complete required EMS training online compared to in-person, especially with social distancing practices during the COVID-19 pandemic. He shared, "When I first started, for every single hour of CE, you had to go somewhere and sit in a classroom. It was kind of a pain....We're at a point now that EMS training is 100% online, and that was before the pandemic. Now, it's a no-brainer. No one has wanted to put a class together of 30-40 people in a room during the last two years. It's been great!"
In addition to using Vector LMS to deliver essential continuing education training hours for EMS recertification and track critical compliance requirements, Lt. Tidings leverages the system to satisfy mandatory cultural diversity, violence in the workforce, and sexual harassment training required of all city of Albany employees. With customizable reports, it's quick and easy for Lt. Tidings to extract the data he needs for compliance.