Nefsis Web & Video Conferencing
   Case Study: Peoria Fire Department

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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 multiple stations
  • 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.

"Buying time"

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 their response.

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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