Video conferencing helps with training

Post-Bulletin staff

Video conferencing is the latest tool being used in the Rochester Fire Department as a way to provide training in all fire stations at the same time.

The program was unveiled Wednesday with representatives from the vendor, Video Guidance Inc. of Eden Prairie, Minn.

Training was difficult for the department because it had to train each shift at each station separately, said Deputy Fire Chief Dan Slavin. If someone missed a session, the department had to retrain and pay overtime, he said.

Firefighters would, at times, meet in one location for training, but that took people away from their stations, making response time longer in an emergency.


The department expects to be able to increase the amount of training firefighters receive, Slavin said. In addition, he said, there will less fuel consumption and less overtime, and firefighters will be able to stay in their stations and respond quickly to emergencies during training sessions.

"The public is unquestionably better served," Slavin said in a news release.

Slavin said the fire department hopes to connect with the Mayo Clinic, the county’s emergency operations center, Rochester Public Utilities and state agencies.

If there is a disaster, he said, this technology could visually connect the people making emergency response decisions.

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