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Managing Lifelong Learning

0809-15-1

One thing you can be sure of if you work in EMS or the fire service is that between certifications and continuing education classes, your career will be full of learning opportunities.

Tracking a career’s worth of training hours and certifications on paper is not only challenging and labor intensive but also impractical given the digital world we live in. The importance of good training documentation and class records can’t be overstated, especially when first responders rely on the accuracy of their certification, which may be directly tied to their livelihood. EMTs and paramedics count on their EMS managers to process their training records effectively to keep them compliant with National Registry standards or state educational requirements.

While some agencies put the responsibility for tracking training records and hours on each individual provider, Littleton (Colo.) Fire Rescue (LFR) believes such tracking is an essential service we can deliver to our internal customers. The training module of LFR’s new ePCR system from High Plains features a comprehensive training management program for planning, program delivery and post-training analysis.

The planning process starts when a “training event” is created. The general topic, target audience and instructors are added to the event. Lesson plans and PowerPoint presentations can be added to the event as part of the permanent record of the training session. Once the training event is built, it can be dragged and dropped into the training calendar and individuals or groups can be pulled over from the built-in roster to create class sign-in sheets. The program prints a bar code next to each person’s name on the sign-in sheet and, after the training session is over, the attendance information is uploaded to the system using a bar code scanner. Individual training hours for non-department-sanctioned training can also be added at the station level.

Not just a planning and tracking device, the software is also a powerful post-training analysis tool. You can easily search the records by: training history by employee, training subject, location, instructor, attendance summary or even training location utilization. These features help managers plan department-wide training or individual company training, thereby ensuring the subject matter always supports certification requirements and practical skills needs.

LFR’s new ePCR system automatically and effortlessly communicates with the department’s providers when it’s time to recertify, making certificate maintenance very simple. The manager sets up workflow tasks based on each individual’s certificate expiration dates, triggering the system to automatically send reminders via department e-mail. No more manually sending out multiple reminders and chasing people around to begin the certification process. The first recertification notice goes out six months prior to expiration and then every 30 days until the new certificate is received and the expiration date updated in the database. Once you set up the workflow task, the system basically runs this process itself.

Another nice feature of LFR’s system is the ability to track personal awards and recognition that an individual receives throughout their career. As EMS managers, we should strive to recognize our responders for the great work they do and the lives they save every day. We don’t give enough recognition in EMS and when we do, it’s easily forgotten years or even months later. With this ePCR system, you can track and store awards along with details and digital pictures from the reception in the award tracking component.

LFR’s new training management system makes planning, delivery and analysis of training activities easy and effortless. Responders can relax knowing they have accurate records that help fulfill their recertification needs while mangers save time and increase efficiency with complete automation. It’s a win-win situation for everyone at LFR.

Disclosure: The author has reported no conflicts of interest with the sponsors of this supplement.

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