FEMA’s CDP Uses Apple iPads to Reduce Material Costs

August 17, 2012 10:13 am

FEMA’s Center for Domestic Preparedness (CDP) and training support contractor, Beacon, joined efforts to introduce and implement a new technology innovation—Apple iPads—into CDP’s first responder courses.   As highlighted in CDP’s Alumnus publication,  this innovation will result in significantly reduced costs and enhanced technology programs for the emergency responder training community. 

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In an effort to cut spending and reduce the amount of paper needed for the course materials provided to emergency responder students, the Center for Domestic Preparedness (CDP) is counting on technology to save money and introduce modern training methods into learning.

“Global technology improvements, cost limitations, and the need for adult learning enhancements now cause us to consider alternatives to the paper-textbook, pencil and ink pen approach currently in use,” said Rick Schlegel, manager of communications & strategic change, Beacon Associates, Inc.

In July, the CDP introduced Apple iPads into the Healthcare Leadership for Mass Casualty Incidents (HCL) course. The iPads contain all course material and provides Internet access for students to follow in class and research discussion topics. Students are also provided electronic versions of the course material via CDs at the end of their course.

“The iPad is just one brand of e-Reader technology,” said Schlegel. “There are others, but the CDP made a choice based on initial cost, technical support and ability for future applications for the adult learner. Our plan is to implement the technology in an instructional environment, receive student feedback, and evaluate the learning method through three (3) phases of review. The intent is not to disrupt learning, but offer a modern teaching approach and save dollars on production costs.”

The three phases of review began with the assessment and writing of objectives to determine a measured approach of efficacy. The second phase will update the challenges found in the first phase and further consider course evaluations, testing capabilities and demographic enhancements for each adult learner. The third phase will continue to be an evaluation of future applications that will challenge each responder student.

The CDP offers more than 40 courses available to first responders. Printing and production costs thousands of dollars a month, and varies depending on the number of courses offered. Introducing electronic technology will allow the CDP to create savings and focus dollars on maintenance, operations, and necessary improvements to training venues.

“We are a training facility,” said Denis Campeau, director of training and education. “Our priority is the emergency responder and reducing training material costs through innovative technology benefits communities throughout the nation. Cutting costs and spending that savings on more training deliveries and enhanced training programs is a wise use of our taxpayer dollars. All agencies in government, and the private sector, must look at better ways to save and spend—the CDP is doing that.”

“The only limitation we have found with the iPads thus far is the human brain…what electronic-based strategy and solutions can we think up next?” said Schlegel.

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