The St. George Fire Protection District operates out of 8 stations covering 84 square miles in Baton Rouge, La. The agency has been using FireRescue1 Academy and EMS1 Academy since 2019 and is also a customer of Lexipol’s Fire Policies and Training solution.
When Justin Arnone joined the St. George Fire Protection District (SGFPD) as Chief of Medical Services, one of his main goals was to improve the quality and consistency of the department’s medical training. “The current training model relied on company officers providing medical training within the stations,” Chief Arnone says. “There was not an effective way to evaluate the quality of that training and to ensure that the training was consistent throughout the department.”
This approach created several risks because there was very little ability to evaluate the medical training being provided. “We would check off that the training had been done, but there was no system tracking and storing lesson plans, learning verification, etc.,” Chief Arnone says. “We needed a better way to deliver and track the training.”
Lexipol’s online learning platforms, EMS1 Academy and FireRescue1 Academy, feature more than 1,000 online courses and videos as well as tools to monitor and track training completion, compliance and license renewal.
For Chief Arnone, this powerful learning management system (LMS) provided a perfect way to address the department’s training needs. Online courses through EMS1 Academy and FireRescue1 Academy help SGFPD personnel fulfill basic CEU requirements, freeing up in-person training time to focus on more advanced subjects.
Key to this approach are features within the Lexipol LMS that allow administrators to create User Groups and Learning Plans. “I have separated all the personnel into groups by level and expiration year, so I have a group for EMRs, EMTs and a group for advanced EMTs/Paramedics. I break those into the year in which their certification expires,” Chief Arnone says. “Then I’ve created lesson plans, such as BLS recertification and ALS recertification for those expiring in 2023 and then another for those expiring in 2024. The lesson plans include every topic National Registry requires. I like that the courses are specific to their levels so, for example, my BLS personnel aren’t wasting their time with ALS courses that don’t apply to them.”
Personnel work at their own pace, completing the required training in just a couple weeks or spreading it out over the entire recertification period. And because Learning Plans are saved in the system, “it makes it easy for me because every year, I can repeat it with the next group that’s expiring,” Chief Arnone says. Electronic assignments and tracking also provide accountability; the department can easily produce evidence of training with just a few clicks.
Meanwhile, Chief Arnone develops and conducts a monthly in-person EMS training. “The training is mandatory. We record it and upload the recording to EMS1 Academy. If an employee misses the class, they watch the recording, and I can verify that every employee has attended training,” he says.
The SGFPD’s Training Division also uses FireRescue1 Academy to assign compliance training each month—classes covering topics such as antiharassment, HIPAA and bloodborne pathogens—and to provide personnel with professional development opportunities and mental wellness courses. Specialized training is also possible. “If we have a person with driving issues, we can create a learning plan with all the driving courses to help remediate their skills—and then have the documentation for insurance purposes,” Chief Arnone says.
The blended learning approach that SGFPD has built using Lexipol’s LMS is helping the department maximize training resources and make better use of in-person training time. “Using this online learning platform frees up a lot of time that we used to dedicate to medical training,” Chief Arnone says.“Now we can use that time for other things. EMS1 Academy has given me the ability to provide all the basic medical training online, so I can focus on more high-fidelity training that you have to do in person.”
Another key benefit has been to deliver consistency and accountability to the department’s training. “Now everyone has the same training, and we can guarantee that no employee at this department is going to miss medical training,” Chief Arnone says.