Pasco County Fire Rescue (Fla.) is at the forefront of cutting-edge solutions for managing training and compliance. With the help of TargetSolutions, Fire Chief Scott Cassin is able to ensure all of the county's stations are providing the training tools needed to ensure personnel have the knowledge and resources to serve the densely populated regions and challenging geography.
Since implementing TargetSolutions in 2016, Pasco County has not only been able to streamline training management, but also facilitate better communication of company policies and contribute to innovations in the fire industry.
Pasco County is located along the I75 and I4 corridors off the Gulf Coast in Florida where populations are booming, and new housing and infrastructure developments are underway. Due to this growth, Pasco County utilizes more than 640 full-time employees to respond to roughly 75,000 calls a year across its 23 career and 4 volunteer fire stations.
“We are growing to meet the expanding population and the large volume of calls we receive due to this explosive growth,” said Cassin. “We also have to prepare for hurricane threats throughout the year in addition to training for brush fire due to surrounding forested lands.”
As a department with hundreds of members, staying ahead of certification or license expirations is complicated without a system for documenting and tracking these items. With TargetSolutions, Pasco County can track certifications and licenses for every individual in the department, and even more importantly, generate automated reminders for firefighters to complete training before renewal deadlines.
“Before TargetSolutions, we’d type out documents, print them, send them to each station through our internal office mail, have them hung up on a bulletin board and hope everyone saw the memo," said Cassen. "Now that we can do that electronically, all at once, it’s been a Godsend for us.”
While TargetSolutions’ online training tracker has been instrumental in managing training, Cassin praised the platform's File Center for providing a centralized online location for maintaining all memos, newsletters, policies, IAFF contracts, and more. Easily accessible in the TargetSolutions platform, Cassin values the ability to streamline the delivery of policy updates and verify that individuals reviewed important documents with e-signatures.
Earlier this year, Pasco County Fire Rescue assisted with TargetSolutions’ first-ever virtual reality training activity: Smoke Reading in Virtual Reality. Pasco County helped close a city block in downtown Dade City, Fla., and were filmed with a 360-degree camera while responding to a two-story building fire.
“Our organization is centered around training,” Cassin said. “We felt doing this virtual reality training session and video shoot would be a win-win. We got a full day of good training and got to be a part of cutting-edge training technology. The end result speaks for itself.”
Cassin emphasized the benefits of Smoke Reading in Virtual Reality as it immerses firefighters in a training environment that fiscally and practically cannot be easily reproduced. Interactive questions in the course guide the individual’s decision making and allow them to affect outcomes and learn from their choices. “It’s one thing for someone to sit in a class and take notes,” Cassin asserted. “With VR training, you can change the environment based on your decisions – for better or for worse.”