Located just outside Chicago, the Oak Park Fire Department consists of three fire stations and 63 members serving a population of 52,000.

The Challenge

The Oak Park Fire Department (OPFD) was searching for an online training platform that not only ensured cost-savings, but also offered a strong content library and custom course tool for building department-specific training content. It was critical for OPFD to implement a user-friendly training solution so personnel could complete mandatory classes for credit.

The Solution

The OPFD uses FireRescue1 Academy for applied learning, recertification and maintaining its ISO 2 rating. The department has also taken full advantage of the ability to create custom courses and single videos and assign them to applicable members. Previously, OPFD leaders found it difficult to ensure everyone received a class or in-service training, but FireRescue1 Academy has provided an easy way to manage training. The OPFD EMS coordinator finds value in the automatic reporting, which runs on a monthly basis, showing course completions, credential management and notifications for renewals.

The department also takes advantage of the ability to print course completion certificates and the interface to Firehouse Software to export completed classes into the Firehouse training module. These features reduce the workload on the OPFD truck officer and ensure accurate collection of data.

The Results

FireRescue1 Academy has helped meet the OPFD’s need to offer accredited mandatory training courses, such as Bloodborne Pathogens, Sexual Harassment and Workplace Discrimination. FireRescue1 Academy’s extensive EMS course library has been approved and accepted by the department’s local EMS system for continuing education credit toward recertification.

Chief Thomas Ebsen notes that previously, the department’s training consisted of 15-year-old videos and personnel teaching others what they felt was an appropriate training protocol. “Now that we have a solution that includes quality curricula, our firefighters have the proper training to ensure compliance and safety,” he says. “Scheduling instructors to reach out to personnel regarding training completion became difficult and impractical. But after implementing our new training solution, we eliminated the need to search for and pay instructors for courses and managing credentials.”

The platform’s straightforward administrative functionality also allows the OPFD supervisors to easily check course completion statuses and send reminder emails to members when courses are almost due. “The automated reports for fire course completion certificates are very useful and we include them in our personnel’s training jackets,” Chief Ebsen says.

Oak Park will continue to use FireRescue1 Academy to meet mandatory training and credential requirements, helping to streamline their fire training and reducing time spent on verifying course completion. The department anticipates the platform will fully support their safety efforts and provide the necessary features to improve training efficiencies.

"Now that we have a solution that includes quality curricula, our firefighters have the proper training to ensure compliance and safety."

- Thomas Ebsen, Fire Chief, Oak Park (IL) Fire Department

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