How to Manage Firefighter Training During a Pandemic


By Fire Chief Arjuna George, Salt Spring Island Fire Rescue (British Columbia, Canada)

The fire service and all of humanity have got a taste to what our new world may be like and how we will manage this life-changing pandemic (COVID-19).  As the world shifts and adjusts to this new normal, the fire service is faced with numerous unforeseen challenges.  Virtually overnight, one of the most difficult and complex problems the fire service faced was how to maintain their organization’s training competencies during the early days of the COVID-19 outbreak.

Firefighters are innovators and great problem solvers. We do not roll over when faced with adversity; we solve diverse issues with our can-do attitudes.  This pandemic has brought upon the world much anxiety and pain, but it has also created golden opportunities for growth and has forced us to be creative and resourceful in all we do.  Response protocols to fire and medical alarms changed overnight but we remained operational and ready to serve our communities 24/7. However, for many departments, in-person training abruptly ended for months on end.

Online training and video conferencing turned into the only option for most North American Fire Services and it worked. It worked so well that many organizations are still using these technological tools today after the restrictions have been eased.

Vector Solutions

Learning platforms such as TargetSolutions, an online training platform by Vector Solutions, allows you to maintain some normalcy and continue training your valued members.  The beauty of these online systems is that you can be confident that your organization is staying up on all their required maintenance training, staff scheduling as well as receiving all the latest operational guidelines and protocols.

Platforms such as TargetSolutions provide a one-stop portal for all your organization’s resources, training material and vital communications. It can be challenging for Training Officers to find quality content that is relevant and current for training remotely. The system offers an extensive Fire and EMS course library and you can simply upload your own department’s content to share.

I know many fire services are finding it more and more challenging to engage their members while social distancing restrictions are in effect.  For volunteer services especially, the face-to-face training is a key element to retaining members by keeping them engaged and active.  As we are forced to be innovative, systems like TargetSolutions can provide your agency the freedom to train remotely and keep your firefighters involved, connected, and trained during these surreal and difficult times.

A second wave of the virus is forecasted to resurge this fall. I urge you to be prepared and explore options to help your organization excel in tough times.  Be smart out there, we are in this for the long haul, it is not a race, it is more like a marathon.  Stay Safe.

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