Roberto Lujan serves as the Shift Supervisor and the Accreditation and Training Manager at Los Alamos County Dispatch (LACD) in New Mexico. He has been there for seven years, but previously worked at another Emergency Communications Center (ECC) that did not use a Learning Management System (LMS) to help the staff keep up with their required training. “We didn’t have an easy way to keep track of our training requirements and expiration dates,” explained Roberto. “Supervisors sent emails to inform the Telecommunicators of training deadlines, but they often were missed. Where I used to work, we didn’t have a great repository of training resources, so staff would go to YouTube to find resources to get our required training in.”
Roberto said they took a look at what their Fire Department was using and realized that they could also benefit from Vector LMS. They implemented the system in 2019 and have been using it to track all their staff training and have set up reminders 90, 60, and 30 days ahead of training deadlines so that everyone has time to get their training completed and upload their certificates in the LMS. They now can easily track if a staff member is short on two CAPCE courses, for example, and assign the required training to take from the LMS CAPCE course library. “The LMS replaced the previous email notification system and now there is much more accountability to keep everyone on track,” said Roberto.
“With all of the licenses and certifications to stay on top of, an LMS helps us stay on top of deadlines and enables employees to obtain continuing education hours without having to travel for training or to force overtime to cover a dispatcher’s shift while they are out at a training.”
Roberto Lujan, Shift Supervisor and Accreditation and Training Manager
LACD dispatches for medical, fire, and law enforcement and serves as the primary PSAP in the county. They also dispatch for after-hour utility calls, animal control, the Bandelier National Monument Park Rangers, and the Los Alamos National Laboratory, whose employee base nearly doubles the area population from 18,000 to 30,000 during the week. With 16 full-time dispatchers, the LACD center answers an average of 51,000 calls per year.
As Telecommunicators who dispatch for multiple disciplines, staff and supervisors must maintain their national and state licenses for Emergency Medical Dispatch, Emergency Fire Dispatch, and Department of Public Safety Law Enforcement Academy accreditation. Dispatchers are trained to provide life-saving instruction for aid such as CPR, choking, childbirth, evacuation, administration of Epi-pens, and Narcan. Advanced training and certifications are offered for specialties such as Communications Training Officer, Incident (Tactical) Dispatcher, Hostage Negotiations, Emergency Dispatch Quality Improvement / Assurance, and more.
LACD is also in the process of earning the International Academies of Emergency Dispatch (IAED) Accredited Center of Excellence (ACE). The IAED - ACE Accreditation is the gold standard for emergency communications centers and will qualify LACD in the top two percent of the world’s ECCs.
With so many licenses and certifications to stay current with, LACD offers their staff many training opportunities. Vector offers a full range of training courses for medical, fire, law, HR, OSHA, leadership, etc. They can also include their IAED and other certifications and training resources in the LMS to track everything in one place.
Policy updates and reviews are also delivered through the LMS with date and signature acknowledgements, along with test questions to ensure the information has been read and understood. When the police department started covering a portion of a neighboring jurisdiction, LACD was able to easily update the entire staff through the LMS and ensure everyone read and understood the update. Roberto said they are also using the File Center to store all their policies, training resources, etc., so that everyone knows where to go to access information, and to make it easier for future supervisors who may take over the LMS administration one day.
“There is a definite need for emergency communication centers to have an LMS,” said Roberto. “With all of the licenses and certifications to stay on top of, an LMS helps us stay on top of deadlines and enables employees to obtain continuing education hours without having to travel for training or to force overtime to cover a dispatcher’s shift while they are out at a training.”