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#CiscoPublicSafety Series: Fire Departments Improve Training with Telepresence

May 23, 2014 at 8:01 am PST

There are roughly 10,000 firefighters in Los Angeles County who are responsible for the lives of 9.8 million residents. Getting the proper training for all of the fire departments in the county is of the utmost importance in order to maintain a safe community.

Training difficulties

Mandatory classes for all L.A. County firefighters are held annually at one location to maximize the instructors’ time. The problem with this approach is that firefighters are spending several hours outside of their jurisdiction to attend the classes, which affects response times. To adequately staff stations during training, fire departments spend excess dollars for travel and replacement firefighters.

So, they began searching for a way to save money and enhance firefighter training programs during a period of government budget constraints. Shortly after, the Los Angeles Area Fire Chiefs Association (LAAFCA) received grant funding from the Urban Areas Security Initiative (UASI) Program to help to support their high-threat, high-density communities.

Virtual technology for enhanced training sessions

The LAAFCA decided to use the grant to invest in telepresence, or video conferencing, technology to help them meet their financial and training goals. Telepresence was scalable and could be manipulated to fit the needs of the different-sized fire departments in the county.

With HD cameras, microphones, speakers, and lighting, the video systems would allow one highly-qualified instructor to conduct trainings from one location to multiple departments throughout the county in real time.

Since the integration of telepresence, L.A. fire departments have saved hundreds of thousands of dollars in training and travel costs, provided multiple virtual training sessions with the same level of high-quality emergency support, recorded previous course lectures for replay at any time, and improved firefighter response time.

“If there is a major emergency in the region, all of the county’s firefighters can respond with the same level of high-quality emergency support. Video conferencing offers these benefits to the trainees in the most efficient way possible.” -- Christopher Donovan, Fire Chief at Monrovia Fire Department, California.

If you would like to learn more, read the full case study, and let us know how technology is helping your local first responders.

We also invite you to join our upcoming live webcast on June 5 – our industry experts will cover everything you need to know to create a unified, interoperable public safety IT environment. Register Now

More to come! Be sure to check in for all our upcoming Friday blogs on the latest trends, challenges and technologies impacting public safety. Follow the hashtag #CiscoPublicSafety and @CiscoStateLocal and @CiscoGovt on Twitter for updates, and visit the Cisco Public Safety site for more information on solutions.

 

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