Date of Award

Fall 8-2010

Document Type

Dissertation

Degree Name

Doctor of Education (EdD)

Department

Education

First Advisor

Dr. Cynthia Bice

Second Advisor

Dr. Owen van den Berg

Third Advisor

Dr. Graham Weir

Abstract

This study was conducted because the St. Charles Fire Department needed to identify a way to change its training delivery system to accommodate training in quarters for on-duty companies. St. Charles was experiencing: budget reductions, staffing shortages, delayed responses due to training, and increasing response times. The department identified video teleconferencing (VTC) as a possible solution to their training delivery dilemma. This study was a qualitative study including surveys and interviews that evaluated the VTC implementation process. The research question was, “How can fire department training be constructed to enhance the frequency and adequacy of training and reduce the need for companies to be out of district?” Internal and industry reconnaissance showed that personnel valued response times, the time that elapses between the 911 call for assistance and the arrival of assistance, enough to make changes to their training delivery systems. Local training officers reported shortages in staffing, training support staff, budgets and a lack of organizational support for training. National practitioners in VTC reported similar issues in their organization prior to the implementation of VTC. The literature review, national training officer interview and private sector interviews assisted in building a Best Practices model for emergency training delivery. I implemented this model at the St. Charles Fire Department and recorded the process through field notes, and personal reflections. I concluded by evaluating what worked, what did not work, and what I would do differently next time. The study research revealed that nationwide the fire service was experiencing the same delayed response issues. The VTC solution chosen by the St. Charles Fire Department was able to address many of the issues caused by traditional training models. Changing the training model to utilize VTC allowed the St. Charles Fire Department to enhance the frequency and adequacy of training and reduce the need for companies to be out of district. VTC was not the only identifiable factor in keeping response times low and keeping units in their response areas, but VTC had a positive effect of reducing response times at the St. Charles Fire Department.

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