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How to meet fire rescue training requirements and decrease risk with online learning

Online learning is cost-effective, accessible, and it can help reduce risk and liability in your department.

Sponsored by FireRescue1 Academy

By FireRescue1 BrandFocus Staff

With budget cuts and staffing issues plaguing many departments, finding the bandwidth to meet, manage and document required fire and EMS mandated training can be an uphill battle. As a response, firefighters have begun to turn to online learning as an ideal training solution.

Online learning provides flexibility which means firefighters can complete training in between runs, or while at home. And with any device. (Photo/Pixabay)
Online learning provides flexibility which means firefighters can complete training in between runs, or while at home. And with any device. (Photo/Pixabay)

Training online offers inherent advantages. It’s cost-effective, it’s always available and it’s easy to track and manage. Online learning can also reduce risk.

Here are a few ways your online learning provider should help your department meet its annual training requirements and decrease liability.


Online learning is customizable. So whether your department needs to adhere to CAPCE (Commission on Accreditation for Prehospital Continuing Education) guidelines for EMS recertification, state-specific fire training requirements or internal policies, you can ensure your program is compliant.

Your online learning provider should work with you to help you meet requirements in your state, regardless of how quickly mandates change. For example, our FireRescue1 Academy Platform is an organizationally accredited online education provider by CAPCE, approved in a handful of states for fire continuing education, and continually adds and updates new courses to be in line with the latest industry standards.  

Additionally, many modern online training solutions can deliver content on smartphones, tablets, or desktop computers, making them available anywhere, at any time. Tracking time, even in short bursts during the day— like 15-minute videos with tests—can help your personnel reach annual certification requirements.

For many fire departments, personnel must complete annual fire and EMS continuing education to maintain certification. It can be difficult to accommodate coverage for each firefighter when you have an understaffed department. Thanks to the accessibility of online learning, departments can increase the number of training hours while reducing the number of hours a responder is absent. 

"Previously, we had been searching for an online training platform that not only ensured cost-savings but offered a strong content library and custom course builder that would allow for our department to add specific training content. Since implementing FireRescue1 Academy, we are taking full advantage of this modern day training solution for applied learning, which has led us to maintaining our ISO 2 rating." – Oak Park Fire Department.”


It’s likely your department needs to meet a number of specialized training requirements or state-specific mandates. You may currently be on the hook for identifying—and paying for—a range of instructors to conduct multiple, in-person training sessions. Online learning can greatly ease if not eliminate this burden.

An online learning provider with a comprehensive course library can efficiently deliver training for a large number of specialized, fire and EMS topics that might prove costly to provide in a classroom setting. 

In addition, by offering increased training opportunities, you are reducing liability costs at your department, too—which can take a huge bite out of your department's budget. For example, according to the Association for the Advancement of Automotive Medicine, firetruck crashes occur at a rate of approximately 30,000 crashes per year. Due to civil liability, local governments can pay anywhere from $100,000 and up in settlements and legal fees. 

High-liability categories, which are all offered on the FireRescue1 Academy platform, include:

  • Firefighter 1 & 2
  • Fire Instructor
  • Emergency Vehicle Operations
  • Pediatric Emergencies
  • Trauma

Having access to a broad library of online training courses is a viable solution to help improve firefighter safety, productivity and performance and decrease risk while staying within budget.


Maintaining accurate training records is as important as actually taking the required courses. Without proof of course completion and department compliance, one audit or legal issue can completely disrupt your department.

One of the benefits of online learning is the streamlined electronic record of your department’s training activity. A learning management system (LMS) enables departments to eliminate any makeshift or paper processes currently in use. This improved workflow benefits everyone, from personnel to the administration and leadership divisions.

For instance, if a firefighter is unable to complete training in one sitting, courses can be bookmarked and completed at a later time. Training administrators and leaders can easily monitor the progress and the completion of assigned tasks. Then, anyone within the department can easily pull a report for compliance in the event of an audit. Digitally organizing and tracking your department’s compliance and ISO training can also reduce liability in the case of a lawsuit.


Often, department budgets don’t align with the resources and time needed for first responders to meet annual training requirements. This becomes a challenge for the Chief or Training Coordinator as a firefighter cannot be on call and scheduled for in-person training at the same time. So will your department plan training during work hours? Or will you pay for overtime? 

What if some of those training sessions are only available in particular regions in your state and your personnel have to travel? Additionally, managing work schedules when firefighters are away at training adds another layer of complexity.

An online training platform can be the solution to these problems. The flexibility opens the doors to allow first responders to complete training in between calls while on call, which cuts overtime costs and keeps your department compliant. Further, it provides administrators with a tangible return on investment from both a time and monetary perspective.

Today’s fire departments are faced with complex training requirements and need cost-effective ways to ensure personnel is compliant with state standards. An LMS that offers high-quality courses and tracking can meet those needs.

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