It isn’t an easy process to receive a Center for Public Safety Excellence (CPSE) accreditation. It’s even more difficult to get re-accredited. In fact, St. Tammany Fire Protection District 1 (FPD1) received their re-accredited on March 4, 2020 and remains the only internationally accredited non Department of Defense fire department in the state of Louisiana (ref: website citation). St. Tammany FPD1’s first accreditation included seven years of work to gather and arrange all the information needed. In the reaccreditation, CPSE is looking for information that shows progression and improvements upon the original accreditation data. St. Tammany FPD1 is also holds a Property Insurance Association of Louisiana (PIAL) Class 2 rating.
When John Bauer, Chief of Training and Safety, first took over the training role at St. Tammany FPD, most documentation was completed on paper. Since thorough record keeping and data analysis is difficult to do on paper, it wasn’t a system that could easily keep up with all the tracking and reporting required to receive the PIAL Class 2 rating and CPSE accreditation, nor serve the department’s administrative needs. Chief Bauer said they had tried another leading solution in the market, but it didn’t have as much flexibility to manage their records like the Vector Learning Management System (LMS), (formerly TargetSolution LMS). Chief Bauer said PIAL and CPSE was “blown away” with how effectively St. Tammany FPD was using the LMS.
“With Vector LMS, we can track all of our training—PIAL-required and our regular company training—and assign and report on the training however we want,” said Chief Bauer. “We can see the individual training status and completions and provide automated reports to supervising officers and the Chief so they can follow up as needed with anyone not meeting their deadlines. Vector also has pre-built courses we can customize and use for our Officer, HAZMAT and other trainings and we’ve used some other department trainings, like a rope rescue training, which we uploaded into LMS; the other solution we used didn’t have that capability.”
St. Tammany FPD1 is using the Enterprise version of the LMS which allows them to easily record their trainings that they are doing with other departments without having a send an attendance roster in hopes it made it back to the right person and got enter correctly. They track all their licenses (i.e. EMT licenses, driver’s licenses, etc.) in the LMS so nothing falls through the cracks. All of St Tammany FPD1’s Professional Standards and Qualifications credentials are set up in the LMS so if a firefighter wants to work his or her way up to a Deputy Chief, they can see the pathway and know exactly how to pursue their career path. All of St. Tammany FPD1 task books are entered in the LMS so it only takes a few minutes for a supervising officer to see exactly where someone is at in their training and also know when someone meets the requirements for promotion.
St. Tammany FPD1 also uses Vector’s Check It (formerly Halligan) to do their equipment and apparatus checks and manage their inventory along with tracking and documenting PPE inventory and testing, as well as Vector EHS for their OSHA incident reporting. “We like having the ability to log into one system to access our training, checks and incident reports,” said Chief Bauer. “Our Chief recognizes the value of having everything in the same wheelhouse.”
Prior to using Vector EHS to track near misses, vehicle accidents, employee injuries and station safety inspections, St. Tammany FDP1 was tracking the information in Google Forms and Google Sheets. During an evaluation of the division it was recommended they use a more functional program to track and analyze their information which would result in more usable data. Chief Bauer said, “We went back as far as we could and entered 10 years’ worth of information from all past incidents. When we saw the Vector EHS dashboard analysis, we could see that most or our accidents were occurring in June during a particular time of day with a certain age group, along with other data. That give us valuable information that we could act upon to help prevent these types of incidents.”
St. Tammany FPD1 just purchased the Vector Evaluations+ solution and is hoping to turn their annual evaluation process into online friendly format. Currently the Captain has no way to go back and look at past evaluations to compare performance. The Evaluations+ app not only makes it easy to complete our performance evaluations digitally, but it also ties into the LMS for a total overall view into someone’s competencies. St. Tammany FPD1 anticipates that the Evaluations+ mobile app will help them get better insight to know where someone is at in meeting their professional standards, when they are ready for the next rank, and if there is training needed in an area to help set them up for success.
Chief Bauer said he has been very impressed with Vector’s attentiveness to their customers. “I have worked with a lot of vendors and Vector is at top of list for customer service,” said Chief Bauer. “I have no doubt that Vector Solutions will continue to integrate their solutions for more value for agencies like us and will continue to be committed to meeting our needs.”