The Action Training Systems Emergency Responder Blog

Action Training Systems congratulates one of their own on degree in Fire Science Administration.

Posted by Elise Andreasen on Mon, June 16, 2014 @ 02:10PM

Nicole Avila, daughter of George Avila (President/CEO Action Training Systems) has been on the fast track when it comes to accomplishing her goals. Her early graduation comes as no surprise as she has always set her standards above many others her age. Nicole knew she wanted a career in emergency services field since she was sixteen. Her passion was initially sparked while taking athletic medicine and anatomy courses her sophomore year of high school. Her enthusiasm drove her to apply to the running start program at her high school and to graduate at eighteen with her Associate of Arts degree.

Nicole Graduation

Nicole said that the defining event was the summer before her senior year. She applied to attend Camp Blaze. This is a week-long camp held in different parts of the county and is designed to empower young women looking toward a career in the fire service. “It was really because of Camp Blaze that I developed a strong passion for wanting to be a firefighter. It was the first time I got to pull a hose line into a burning building, and I loved it,” said Nicole. “All the women who run that program are amazing, they give young women the opportunity to see that they have the strength and ability to do something like firefighting, and to be strong and confident leaders in whatever field we end up in.”

camp blaze

After attending Camp Blaze Nicole began applying to colleges that offered a fire science degree. Ultimately she decided that the University of New Haven (UNH) in Connecticut would be the best fit. She moved across the country and began her life as a college student in the fall of 2012. Having her prerequisites out of the way allowed her to start college as a junior and dive right into her fire science courses. She excelled in all her classes and stood out among her peers. “Nicole is one of those unique students that come through the university who possess a passion for public service, academic ability, and the confidence to make a real difference in emergency services,” said Peter J. Struble, Paramedicine Coordinator and one of Nicole’s favorite professors at UNH. “The fun part of teaching is when you can see tomorrow’s leaders begin to stand apart from the crowd. Nicole is one of those leaders and will be force for positive change in fire and emergency services.”

While enrolled in school, Nicole also looked for opportunities to be involved in the fire service community. She knew volunteering for a local department would give her hands on experience to the material she was studying. She applied to Allentown Volunteer Fire Association. In addition to a full load of fire courses at college, as a volunteer at Allentown she completed her initial Firefighter 1 & 2 courses at night and participated in hands on drills during weekends. “To many, this schedule might seem like a heavy load but Nicole just has a way of getting things done and never complaining,” said Elise Avila Andreasen, sister and marketing manager at Action Training Systems. “You could tell she was happy pursuing her passion. Her unwavering determination is an inspiration. We couldn’t be more proud of her success so far.”


While taking her Firefighter 1 & 2 training with Allentown Vol. Fire Dept., Nicole was excited to see that the department was using training programs produced by her family’s company. She had recognized early on that her family’s business was influential in her career choice but it wasn’t until that moment that she fully realized the impact and incredible resources she has had available to her. “Throughout much of her life, Nicole has been inspired by many close family friends that have had very successful careers in the fire service,” said George Avila. “Some of these, to name a few, B.C. Dennis Corbett, Puyallup Fire & Rescue, retired; B.C. Bruce Arvisu, Los Angeles County Fire, retired; and B.C. Mark Johnson, San Francisco Fire Department. Nicole possesses many of their exceptional leadership qualities that will ensure her a very successful career in the emergency response community for years to come. Needless to say, I am extremely proud of Nicole!”

Nicole finished her bachelor’s degree in Fire Science Administration and graduated this spring at the age of twenty. A huge accomplishment recognized by everyone who has witnessed her steadfast commitment to her goals. This is only the beginning of what appears to be a very promising future in the Emergency Services field. Most recently she has applied to the San Francisco Fire Department. “I want to work for a large city department because I am attracted to the excitement of a big department. I also feel it is a place where I can gain a lot of experience, and if and when I get the opportunity to move up in the department I’d have a larger platform to speak from to make a difference in the fire service as a whole,” said Nicole. Other future interests include becoming a training officer, Chief, working in disaster/emergency management or even attaining her Masters in Emergency Management.

“Training in fire and emergency services is rapidly changing from a top down structured environmentto one where our newest members have opportunities and an environment in which they can analyzeinformation, understand concepts, and reflect on what they learn to improve performance,” said PeterStruble. “The pressures for this change come from a new generation of highly educated, technologicallysavvy, and open minded fire and emergency personnel.”

All those who know Nicole believe she fits the mold when it comes to ensuring the emergency service training continues to move in the direction Struble has outlined. She is a forward thinking leader and we wish her much success in her journey.

Tags: firefighter training, EMS training, emergency responder Training, Fire Simulator

Worried that Your Emergency Services Training Program is Not Getting the Job Done?

Posted by Elise Andreasen on Mon, June 09, 2014 @ 10:48AM

As the Lead Instructor or Officer in Charge of Emergency Services Training for your department you understand how absolutely critical your training program is to protecting your community and the lives of your employees and volunteers.  

firefighter training

You take your responsibility seriously and probably lose more than a little sleep worrying about your people and your responsibility to them.   

Your reputation and the lives of your team members are on the line every single hour of every single day.  Ongoing training is absolutely critical as reported by Fire Fighter Nation

They point out that when candidates graduate from the academy they have only the basic skills necessary to be an effective firefighter.  They need both hands-on training and ongoing course work to develop and maintain the proper techniques to keep themselves safe and effective.

Most of the early training firefighters receive is focused on fire control yet according to the article, "more than half (55 percent) of all 911 calls responded to by the American fire service involve a medical emergency; less than 10 percent involve actual fire

That is why the programs offered by Action Training Systems include a heavy focus on responding to and handling medical emergencies. 

Not a day goes by that you are not thinking of ways to improve your program - keeping every team member up to date and in compliance with all regulations. You work very hard to provide all the tools your teams need to be effective, responsive and safe. 

Action Training Systems offers a full set of training courses designed to make your job easier and help you sleep better at night knowing you are providing the absolute best training available to your teams.

Emergency Response Training Programs are available in the following specialties:

To learn more about the training programs from Action can compliment your efforts contact us today and sleep better tonight.

Tags: Fire training, emergency responder Training

EMT Training Solutions for Interactive Classroom Instruction

Posted by Elise Andreasen on Tue, May 27, 2014 @ 09:54AM

As an EMT instructor, you have the critical responsibility of teaching your students the life saving basics of a first responder. The importance of implementing EMT classes that assist students in learning the fundamentals of life support and emergency patient care is essential for EMT instructors. Using a combination of interactive online and DVD EMT training programs assists instructors in presenting visual medical procedures, how to assess emergency situations, applying emergency patient care and how to use medical equipment. The interactive features of online EMT training allow students to experience virtual EMT procedures, similar to real-life emergencies. 

Facts About Action Training Systems EMT Online and DVD Programs

Action Training Systems EMT training provides instructors with a great resource for classroom training. It presents all aspects of EMT training with the latest medical equipment and procedure training. Instructors can use DVD, online streaming video or interactive courses to present a lesson. The program meets all NEMSES standards and CPR guidelines established by the American Heart Association. All Online EMS training programs by Action Training Systems (ATS) are also approved for continuing education credit by CECBEMS

ATS EMT training series includes the following programs:

  • Scene Safety and Management
  • EMT Workforce Safety 
  • Ambulance Operations and Air Medical
  • Primary Assessment
  • Secondary Assessment in Medical and Trauma
  • Airway Management and Artificial Ventilation
  • Respiratory Compromise
  • Bleeding Emergencies
  • Shock
  • Cardiovascular Emergencies
  • CPR for Adults and Children
  • Behavioral and Psychiatric Emergencies
  • Neurological Emergencies
  • Diabetic Emergencies
  • Poisoning
  • Cold and Heat Emergencies
  • Drowning, Scuba and Decompression
  • Obstetrics and Neonatal Care
  • Pediatric Emergencies
  • Geriatric Care
  • Abdominal Emergencies
  • Chest or Head Trauma
  • Bone Injuries
  • Soft Tissue Injuries
  • Spine Injuries

EMT instructors can use any one of these online and DVD instructional trainings for their classroom to better emphasize EMT procedures. This intensive EMT training series provides everything you need for students to become adept at learning the vital link in the chain of survival that is necessary for any emergency medical technician.

Contact us at Action Training Systems for more information on how to incorporate online and DVD training into your EMT classroom instruction.

Tags: firefighter training, emergency responder Training, EMT Training

Vehicle Extrication Training Arms Firefighters with Precise Response

Posted by Elise Andreasen on Mon, April 14, 2014 @ 10:31AM

Firefighters must be trained for so much more than fire fighting. As public servants on the front lines, firefighters are often the first on the scene for any number of cataclysmic events. One of the most common incidents that firefighting professionals encounter is car accidents; unfortunately, some of these accidents will require that victims be extricated from their vehicles. It is precisely such cases that call for the expertise only found in those who have successfully completed vehicle extrication training.

vehicle extrication training

Every accident has its own characteristics. The vehicle's make and model, the accident's location, the position of the vehicle, and the severity of the victim's injuries are just some of the factors that must weigh heavily on how the professionals address each situation; however, the result must remain the same--safely removing the victim from an entirely unsafe environment in an expedient amount of time.

Since there are so many variables in an accident, it is essential that some of the basic strategies for such cases be invariable. Consider, for instance, some of the following parameters that must be considered, no matter the conditions:

  1. Stabilization has always been one of the first tasks for the responding crew, but today offers a variety of new products that more quickly and efficiently complete this step. Keeping up with this new equipment takes recent and specialized training.
  2. Just as with the stabilization devices, there is new glass removal equipment that allows the glass to be taken out in a more controlled manner so that neither the victim nor the responders are sprayed with additional glass. This equipment also allows the responders more access to the victim.
  3. Removing the door provides the best access to the victim, but each vehicle's make and model provides a different set of principles that must be employed. Where brute force may work okay in certain circumstances, finesse is better used in another. Crews must be trained to recognize which to use when.
  4. Like door removal, roof removal proves to be quite challenging. Where a door can possibly be removed by a single firefighter, a roof will require a team effort. Crews must be trained to recognize the sequence of cuts that should be made for successful roof removal.
  5. Once the door and/or roof is removed, it's not at all uncommon to find the victim pinned down by the dashboard. It is paramount that crews know how to handle this situation when it arises, and it will. Whether jacking with spreaders, rolling using rams, or using any other technique, crews must have the training they need to perform this task quickly and efficiently. At the scene is never the time to talk about theories that may or may not work.

While the NFPA standards provide the principles and best practice guidelines for safely removing a trapped victim from a vehicle, those standards will not prove at all helpful without the proper training. Please   contact us today to discover how our training arms all first responders with the expertise that saves precious seconds on site.

Tags: Fire training, firefighter training, vehicle extrication training, emergency responder Training, first responder training, Fire Officer

Using Statistics as a Tool

Posted by Elise Andreasen on Wed, October 02, 2013 @ 08:05AM

Fire Officer Training

Every day, firefighters risk their lives to save people from fires, serious accidents and other perils. But in the heat of the moment, their own safety is often the last thing on their minds, and they often fail to recognize the dangers in routine habits and daily life at the fire station. As the supervising fire officer on the front lines, protecting your team’s health and safety must be the first thing on your mind. “Watching their backs” is your most important responsibility.

In its Fire Officer I series, Action Training Systems identifies statistics as a key tool to prevent potential injury and death.

As a fire officer at the unit level, you will be leading your team into many dangerous situations. If you know and can recognize what has caused fire service injuries and fatalities in the past, you will be better able to protect your team from harm in the present.

Online Fire Training

Statistical data and current trends can offer insight into how injuries happen and what you can do to prevent them. This important information can also help you identify fire training needs and recognize hazardous situations. 


They include:Several organizations closely track firefighter injuries and deaths and provide a wealth of data online.


Fire service trade magazines and websites also report news about special hazards to firefighters.

Your own department is also a good resource for statistics and current trends, especially as they relate to your area. By studying what has happened locally, you may recognize patterns that can help you anticipate and plan ahead.

Fire TrainingFor instance, your jurisdiction may have a highly developed downtown area, and you may notice that your department has performed several elevator rescues in recent years. This information may motivate you to update your team’s elevator rescue training and review the elevator surveys of the buildings within your jurisdiction.

Proactively studying statistics on how fire service injuries and fatalities occur should be a part of your routine. It is your job to research this important information and to then translate it into a solid, effective plan of action.

Remember, they’re not “statistics” when it happens to one of your firefighters.


Tags: firefighter training, EMS training, emergency responder Training, Fire Officer

Firefighter Training - Do I HAVE to Manage Conflict?

Posted by Elise Andreasen on Fri, August 02, 2013 @ 03:00PM

Yes! As a firefighter, you learned how to put water on fires.  As a supervising fire officer, you need to become skilled at putting out a different kind of fire: conflict. Managing conflict is an essential leadership skill. You will want to learn how to manage all kinds of conflict – from petty disputes to major disagreements with the potential to derail your team’s success.


Managing conflict is an unavoidable part of any supervisor’s job. Nobody likes conflict, but suppressing disagreements only produces frustrated firefighters and unhappy fire stations.


On the other hand, a fire service officer who can confront conflict skillfully can turn it into an opportunity to help individuals grow and improve the organization.

Action Training Systems’ “Fire Officer I Series” talks about applying specific skills and characteristics to approaching conflicts constructively:

  1. A willingness to intervene
  2. The ability to model non-defensiveness
  3. Show patience
  4. Sensitivity
  5. Optimism
  6. Credibility

The first step to resolving conflict is being willing to intervene while others are still engaged in the dispute. When a conflict comes to your attention, you need to step up and offer a problem-solving approach.

The second characteristic is the ability to model non-defensiveness. Collect personal feedback from those involved without getting upset yourself or taking anything said personally. In other words, be a good listener. All of the parties involved have information you need to find a constructive solution.  


Third, you will need to show patience. Make it clear that you are not rushing to quick fixes, but working to develop an agreement on how to resolve a problem.

Fourth, show sensitivity. Show that you understand and accept the emotions that people involved express to you. Feelings of anger, fear or frustration are common.

Fifth, as the leader you must always project optimism. Even though others may be seeing things negatively, you must keep your focus on the positive results that agreement and resolution will bring.

Finally, one of the most critical characteristics for approaching conflict is maintaining credibility. Your trustworthiness is important.

  • Be good for your word.
  • Be consistently truthful and fair.
  • And remember that integrity matters.

After seeing these six characteristics for approaching conflict, spend a few moments reflecting on conflicts you’ve observed in the fire station. Mentally reviewing these experiences, how would you apply these lessons on approaching conflict? Characteristics and skills for approaching conflict are central to your success as a supervisor. You’ll find that these characteristics will serve you well every day in many situations.

Tags: firefighter training, emergency responder Training, first responder training, Fire Officer

10 Tips for Fire & EMS Instructors to Engage Students

Posted by Elise Andreasen on Fri, June 28, 2013 @ 11:33AM

Classroom Fire Training & EMS Training Tips

Make learning easier by using some of these tips. Even if you are able to get your students’ attention in the classroom, you want them to retain the information you provide and use it in hands-on training and out in the field.

1. Learner Preparation

Preparing the learner ahead of time has been proven to significantly increase learning readiness, assimilation, thinking and recall time. For example, give your students access to ATS Online courses relating to the course material you plan to cover in your classroom training session the next day.

2. Repetition

Habits, beliefs, values and self-image are all learned through repetition. Repeat key points throughout your presentation. Look for creative ways to revisit the same point; - simply saying the same thing over and over again can be frustrating for students.

3. Inside Scoop

Once you’ve got their immediate attention, give learners the inside scoop on something. Relate your topic of the day to a scenario that has happened close to home.

4. Personal Experience

Support the point you're making with first-hand experience. This not only enhances your credibility with the audience, but also proves your knowledge of the subject.

5. Questioning Techniques

Your audience will remember less than 30 percent of the sentences they hear during your presentation, but they will remember more than 85 percent of the questions you ask. By asking questions, you deepen the learner’s understanding and conviction. The best questions are ones that get your students thinking, shock them to attention or get their agreement. Check out ATS Interactive training courses or ATS question files to help with question ideas relating to specific Fire & EMS subject matter.

6. Startling Statistics

Numbers and statistics can lose your audience quicker than anything else. By using numbers carefully you can not only prove your point, but also surprise your class. Present only the numbers and statistics that are necessary to make your point. Where possible, round to the nearest whole number. Graphs and charts should be simple. Detailed calculations should be provided on a handout.

7. Analogies & Metaphors

The more complex your subject, the more important it is to use analogies and metaphors. Know your audience! Using a complex analogy to support complex material can be frustrating. Your words matter. If you are presenting something complex, simplify it with a metaphor.

8. Be Brief & Finish Early

People once had the attention span to sit and listen for much longer stretches than we do today. Now that we can get information more quickly, that amount of time is rapidly decreasing. Limit your subject content to approximately 20 minutes. If you plan to train for longer, break up the segments and compliment your audience by finishing up 5 minutes early.

9. Humor

Humor can be one of the most effective attention-getting techniques when used naturally and appropriately. Humor keeps the audience alert and awake. Laughter triggers the release of adrenaline and increases long-term retention of information. Humor makes audiences more relaxed, responsive and creative.

10. Each One Teach One

Learners are people with whole lives. They will relate to you on an emotional level if you care for them as individuals. They will also appreciate the opportunity to relate to each other. Give them time to talk with one another about what they are learning and experiencing.

Tags: Fire training, firefighter training, EMS training, emergency responder Training

Why is Fire & EMS Training so HOT?

Posted by Elise Andreasen on Tue, May 28, 2013 @ 01:24PM

Firefighter Training OnlineOnline learning is HOT and for a very good reason. Many departments and organizations around the world are turning to online training/learning as a way to decrease costs and improve the learners performance. Also, unlike a one-time classroom session, the online learning course is available to be accessed anywhere and can be reviewed a number of times to enhance the learners comprehension.

Many fire departments and EMS organizations are turning to online learning as a means to supplement their classroom training. Now, it is very important you understand that online training is not meant to replace hands on training, but simply be used as a tool to train students in addition to hands on and classroom learning. You can easily have your students login in from home and review or study material before coming to your weekly training night or before drills, so that the material to be covered is already fresh in their mind.

ATS online learning Supports your department/organization’s training goals

Improved training costs – Producing learning content is time consuming whether it’s online or not. With ATS Online learning, our course content is based on national standards and designed to follow training manuals by IFSTA/FPP and Brady/Pearson Publishing. With ATS Online, each time a course is accessed your return on investment improves because you are not limited by a classroom environment which means savings through decreased travel, reduced materials and improved (and more efficient) performance.

Increased productivity - Since ATS online is not bound by geography or time you can have control over when you want your students to take courses…during down time at the station or on their own at home . In addition, with the state of the current economy, we are continually being asked to do more with less. So ATS online is a great way to give students the tools and skills necessary to enhance their performance.

Standardization - Although you are an excellent training officer/course facilitator, there is no guarantee that the course material will be presented the same across all sessions. ATS online allows you to create a process where learning is standardized across sessions. With ATS online there will be consistency in delivery and content.

ATS online supports learner development

Improved retention - The combination of our high quality media and instructional design produces a very rich learning experience. With our interactive courses, quizzes and tests are available to help your learners retain the course content and better prepare them for hands on training and real world scenarios.

Real-time access - Live learning doesn’t allow for much flexibility. ATS online eliminates this because courses can be accessed anywhere, anytime on any computer or mobile device such as an ipad or smartphone.

Personalized Learning - ATS online allows you the freedom to customize your emergency response training to meet your goals for the day, week or year. You can purchase access to specific courses for a select number of learners based on your personal department/organizational need. This allow you control that you would not have in a classroom learning environment.

Ongoing access to courses/resources - If you take a class in the real world and need a refresher, you better hope that you took good notes. Otherwise, you’re out of luck. That’s not the case with ATS online. Ideally, you continue to have access to the online content and resources to brush up on what you learned and have the opportunity to share information as well.

A few questions to ask yourself: What are your goals for your emergency response training? What type of training are you currently using? Are you completely satisfied with your current fire training or EMS training program? Is it efficient, without sacficing the quality of content and learner comprehension?

Tags: Fire training, firefighter training, EMS training, Industrial training, emergency responder Training, first responder training

Action Training Systems Wins 2 Aurora Awards for Training Programs

Posted by Elise Andreasen on Mon, March 11, 2013 @ 02:24PM

We are proud to announce that we have recently been awarded Aurora awards for our new Infection Control & Prevention Series as well as our Vehicle Extrication series. 

The Aurora Awards is an international competition designed to recognize excellence in the film and video industries. It specifically targets products, programs and commercials that would not normally have the opportunity to compete on a national level, by focusing on non-national commercials, regional or special interest entertainment and corporate sponsored film and video. Entries have come from across the US, and abroad (such as Russia, Denmark, Hong Kong, Germany, Australia and Mexico).

Action Training Systems’ 3-title Infection Control & Prevention series provides a systematic understanding of bloodborne, airborne, and other diseases of concern to emergency responders. These programs demonstrate how to minimize or prevent the spread of diseases through proper precautions and infection control practices and how to mitigate an exposure to communicable diseases. As a series, it provides a comprehensive framework to help instructors fulfill initial and annual infectious diseases training requirements.

The Vehicle Extrication series includes 10 training programs that teach to the current National Fire Protection Association standards, including NFPA 1001: Standard for Fire Fighter Professional Qualifications, NFPA 1006: Standard for Technical Rescuer Professional Qualifications and NFPA 1670: Standard on Operations and Training for Technical Search and Rescue Incidents. The programs cover step-by-step extrication evolutions, basic operational procedures and knowledge of tools and techniques used to complete an efficient and effective extrication.

For information on these and others titles by Action Training Systems, please visit our website at or call 800-755-1440 ext 3

Aurora Award resized 600

Tags: Fire training, firefighter training, EMS training, vehicle extrication training, emergency responder Training, first responder training

Most Common Mistakes when Applying for the AFG Grant

Posted by Elise Andreasen on Tue, May 22, 2012 @ 01:30PM

Most Common Mistakes when Applying for the AFG Grant 

1.Failure to read the program guidance 

2. Failure to take advantage of the help desk or the get ready guides

    Help Desk Phone number is 866.247.0960

3. Failure to proof read your application, do not insert place holders in the application

4. Inserting false numbers or inforation into your application. Make sure all info is correct

    You are responsible for all information in your grant, even if it is entered by a grant writer

5. Be weary of template narratives. The reviewers want to hear "your" story.

6. Don’t use brand names of products but do include the description of product 

7. Do not request more PPE than the number of personnel in your department

8. Failing to list the age of SCBA’s to be replaced

9. EMS trained to BLS level asking for ALS equipment. Make sure to only apply for equipment      that your staff are "currently" trainined to use. 

Tags: Fire training, emergency responder Training, first responder training, AFG Grants Info