Peoria Fire Department Implements Nefsis Web and Video Conferencing for Firefighter Training
What is the best way to train firefighters without taking them away from their stations?
To keep its firefighters and emergency medical personnel up to date, the Peoria, Arizona, Fire
Department conducts ongoing training sessions among eight stations in the area. But the department
has always faced the trade-off between training personnel efficiently and keeping them close to
their home stations in case of an emergency.
- Peoria Fire Department needs to train firefighters
and emergency medical personnel continually
- Traditional, centralized training removes
personnel from fire stations
- Trainers use Nefsis video conference sessions among
- Personnel can stay in their stations during training
Business and IT Benefits:
- Department saves approximately $20,000/year
in fuel and travel costs
- Online training simulates real-world tactical collaboration
- Doctors in hospitals and paramedics at stations can meet
online for after-action briefs and patient outcome reviews
"It was always a logistical nightmare trying to schedule training
at one point in town for emergency medical personnel, while keeping their stations staffed,"
explains Mark Nichols, training chief for Peoria Fire Department.
"We've started down the
path of video conferencing with Nefsis to bridge this gap, and I see the potential to save at
least $20,000 per year across our eight stations."
Rolling out video conferencing
Training sessions will take the form of a multipoint online meeting among the desktops, laptops and
large monitors installed in each station. Trainers can reach firefighters and conduct effective
training all over the city, while stations remain fully manned.
The department began looking into video conferencing in early 2009. The computers were in place by
early 2010 when the department kicked off a pilot project connecting the fire administration
building to the first station. The project was partially funded from the start, and the department
estimates that the savings on fuel and traveling expenses will make up most of the remainder.
Nefsis combines the high quality of video conferencing with the low cost, ease of use and collaboration
tools of Web conferencing. Nichols plans to use collaboration, recording and narration features
to run lessons directly from his laptop computer.
Training can be done on things such as tactics and strategy, building construction safety, EMT
(emergency medical technician) classes and continuing education for paramedics.
Nichols believes this technology will improve training and communication among stations.
For tactical training, they can stage simulated fire events via video conference, in
which one team sees and trains on the roof-level training, another team has an inside-the-building
view, and a third trains on outside tactical management. More important, Nefsis' level of performance is
such that the teams are able to train effectively on the tactical collaboration it takes to fight a fire.
All of this training and continuing education takes place over a video conference connecting the stations.
Besides education-intensive training sessions, the department can conduct administrative and staff
meetings online without removing medical personnel from their stations and service areas.
Emergency medical personnel conduct "quality assurance" on all of their calls, so when they
come across a unique or interesting case, they can provide a video conference of lessons learned and discuss
Live video plays a big part in the important, hospital-paramedic feedback loop,
when doctors at hospitals can share final x-rays and conduct Q&A via video conference so that paramedics can
see the diagnoses and outcomes of the patients they have helped and learn lessons for future responses; for
instance, for spinal injuries, big bone fractures and trauma.
"Also, video conferencing is such a transparent way for us to stage all this
training that we've also eliminated the burden we would have incurred for the city's IT department to manage
staffing, software and training," concludes Nichols.
"All the way around, buying Nefsis is a big way for us to buy time. I think the possibilities of what we can
do with it are unlimited."
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