December 13, 2022 2 min read
Pasco County Fire Rescue Supports Long-term Health with Vector Solutions
Chief John Schmidt
Division Chief of Health, Safety, and Training
The Challenge for Pasco County Fire Rescue
Firefighting is a job with a long list of health risks, but it’s only been within the last few decades that the danger posed by exposure to cancer-causing substances has been added to the list.
Over time, more evidence has emerged to validate the increased risk those in the fire service have of developing cancer. Pasco County Fire Rescue is taking the risk seriously and tackling the problem head on with a new program designed to keep its members healthy long into retirement.
Choosing Vector LMS and Evaluations+
Over the last year, the department has been utilizing the Vector LMS training management platform to support and provide training on its recently implemented decontamination program. The program, also referred to as the decon program, is focused on developing best practices to reduce exposures and mitigate the cancer risk faced by firefighters. It’s spearheaded by Chief John Schmidt, Division Chief of Health, Safety, and Training. A veteran of the fire service, Chief Schmidt has personally seen the toll the profession can take on a firefighter’s health.
“I had a buddy…we worked together often throughout our career and one day he came to my office and told me he had cancer,” Chief Schmidt said. “At the time, research had just started coming out about cancer in the fire service and how firefighters had a greater risk of getting cancer… after his funeral, I sat down with the fire chief and said we have got to stop this.”
The Change for Firefighter Health and Safety
According to Chief Schmidt, while there has been some pushback, the program is gaining traction with members of the department and he’s hopeful that participation will continue to increase.
Chief Schmidt accredits the Credentials module in Vector LMS for being especially beneficial in providing training to participating personnel. He also uses a custom form in the Evaluations+ app to help identify interested members.
“I built a new decon technician candidate training credential so I can go back in and track it,” he said. “[The data from Vector LMS] also validates what we’re doing. We can go back and show that each member has been training to the most up-to-date standards. And I can track those standards using Vector LMS.”
- Vector LMS, Evaluations+ 2016
- Approx. 720 certified firefighters
- 539,885 population
- 868 mi² area