Tim Riley still remembers the first time he was able to put TargetSolutions to work for his organization. It was late in the summer of 2009 and H1N1 was in the news on a daily basis. The powerful influenza virus was reaching pandemic proportions when Riley, formerly the training chief with the Pinellas Park Fire Department in Florida, was tasked with testing out his organizations new online training system.
“It didn’t take him long to realize the departments new training management platform was going to make his job easier.”
“We were just coming on board and I was told to go back and play with it,” Riley said. “The first thing I took a look at was Community Resources. I just did a quick search on H1N1 and low and behold, there was the exact type of PowerPoint I was looking for from a department in California. I immediately saved it to my desktop, changed the references of California to Florida, changed the references of earthquakes to hurricanes, and assigned it to my people. I knew right then and there Community Resources was going to be a tremendous tool.”
Riley was instantly enamored with Community Resources because it keeps training officers from having to recreate the wheel every time, he said.
“There are so many things that have been shared in Community Resources, its truly an invaluable tool,” said Riley, who now works as a Product Specialist with TargetSolutions and is responsible for helping TargetSolutions build its ISO Tracking solution. “We’re all trying to do more with less. This is one way we can help each other do that – by sharing resources that can be customized for different departments.”
The two highest-rated resources, which were posted in August of 2009, are still the most popular with TargetSolutions’ network of users. Together the two resources have been viewed more than 11,000 times and have been utilized by more than 100 organizations.
Jeff Clyons, who worked as SDFDs assistant training officer when the videos were created, said his department’s firefighters were having issues with ventilation, so it attacked the issue with a multi-pronged training approach. The department spent three months focusing on ventilation by incorporating the PowerPoint and video with in-station drills and an in-service training session where crews had the chance to work with chainsaws during a manipulative drill.
“We realized our recruits had learned one way to cut a hole in a roof and we realized when they got out in operations, that one way was restricting their ability to do other things,” said Clyons. “It was limiting what our personnel were doing when it came to ventilating a roof. So we wanted to teach our existing personnel multiple ways to do this. We wanted to raise the bar on our ability to use a saw and raise the bar on cutting holes. Our message was well received. I think it assisted people who were tactile learners, people who were visual learners, and people who were auditory learners. They all had a chance and it hit all the senses, so we definitely felt retention was better.”
There are literally hundreds of resources thanks to fire department file sharing in the repository and with such a powerful search engine, clients can usually locate the topics they are seeking. In fact, Community Resources has been nicknamed, Google on steroids for firefighters.
“The search engine is helpful if you go into it looking for a certain topic, like forcible entry, or something – you will find material in there,” said Wes Djuplin, who is a firefighter/instructor with the Kenosha Fire Department in Wisconsin.
With such a tremendous tool for finding material to help with teaching and keeping firefighters prepared for duty, clients are benefiting from TargetSolutions.
“Community Resources is a way for instructors to network and share information,” said Eddie Buchanan, who is the Past President of the International Society of Fire Service Instructors. “If there is a program they have done that they are proud of, they can put it out there for everyone to use. They can also look at what others have done for some help. It’s really a great way to share in a community setting. I think firefighters are just very resourceful and when something benefits them they’ll try to find a way to put it to good use.”
TargetSolutions is the leading provider of web-based technology solutions for fire and EMS departments. These solutions enable departments to maintain compliance, reduce losses, deliver curriculum, and track all station-level tasks, certifications and training activities.