About the Union County Fire Marshal’s Office
The Union County Fire Marshal’s Office in Monroe, NC has a primary responsibility of enforcing the North Carolina Fire Prevention Code that requires commercial occupancies to be inspected on an arranged schedule depending on the occupancy type. The Fire Marshal’s Office also handles safety concerns reported by the public, reviews building plans and fire protection equipment, and conducts investigations into the origin and cause of fires. They are a partner in the Union County Safe Kids Coalition, which provides a variety of safety training and activities throughout the year.
We spoke with Jon Williams, Deputy Fire Marshal at Union County Fire Marshal’s Office, who explained why his agency decided to make the switch to Emergency Reporting.
ER: What did you use before ER? Why did you switch?
JW: We were [previously] utilizing FIREHOUSE, which was outdated in its look and functionality. They did not keep up with customer requests and it just wasn’t easy for the end-user.
ER: In comparison to your other system, did you save money by switching to ER?
JW: We did, and the functionality of the system is so much better.
ER: What has changed since your department implemented ER?
JW: Our end users are much more pleased with the ease of how ER operates.
ER: What are some of your favorite ER reports?
JW: Reports dealing with occupancies, how many inspections are done in the area, and how many need to be done.
ER: What are some of the key data points you monitor, and how does ER help with that?
JW: We have set our inspection areas up by zones. This allows us to track our inspections based off of the zones and also our incidents as well. It’s a very useful tool.
ER: What is your favorite aspect of ER software?
JW: The overall functionality. It’s much easier for the end user to operate than the previous software that we had. Also, ER [staff] listen to customers and are willing to make changes!
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ER: Has using ER helped you to tell your department’s story to your community (e.g., have you used ER to help communicate budget needs to city officials, etc.?)
JW: We just switched to ER in October. I believe that it will, we just need some more time for data to be input so that we can analyze it.
ER: What are your thoughts on the value of technology in the fire service, and how has technology changed the way you manage your daily operations and resources?
JW: You can’t put a price on technology. I remember when I first started, we did inspections and had carbon copies of them, now we do them through ER electronically. We utilize multiple software applications and pieces of technology every day in our tasks and that will only increase in the future.
You can’t put a price on technology. I remember when I first started, we did inspections and had carbon copies of them, now we do them through ER electronically.
– Jon Williams, Deputy Fire Marshal at Union County Fire Marshal’s Office