While the limited rollout of a county-wide records management system for all fire and ambulance companies is regarded as successful, Harford County leaders will spend the coming weeks and months working with fire company representatives to gain their support for having the county take over network maintenance.

"I think it's going to be wonderful," Bill Dousa, president of the Harford County Volunteer Fire and EMS Association, said of the new records management system. The system deployed for three companies - Aberdeen Fire Department, the Norrisville Volunteer Fire Company and the county's HAZMAT team - last fall for beta testing.

"It's going to give us the capability to demonstrate our performance, to simplify recording keeping," Dousa said.

The county purchased the records management software, as well as kiosks and finger readers, which allow fire and ambulance personnel to sign in and out of the system with a fingerprint scan.

"It will mark who they are, and the date-time stamp on it," said Ted Pibil, director of the Harford County Office of Information and Communication Technology.

Pibil said the county has committed to maintaining the records management system software, but fire company representatives recently asked if the county could maintain the users' networks as well, to ensure all companies – where the personnel have varied levels of technical expertise and the funds to ensure their networks are in sync with the RMS.

"We want to make sure it's equitable across all the companies, and are they in favor of it, and that's where the discussion is right now," he explained.

The matter was the topic of discussion during a recent meeting of the Harford County Public Safety Commission.

"It's an effort to enable everybody to operate from a level playing field," Commission Chairman Tony Bennett said following the meeting last week.

He said the proposal to have the county take on network maintenance is still a "concept."

"At this point in time there is no decision one way or another," Bennett said. "We're waiting for feedback."

Bennett and Dousa said, if the fire companies support the proposal, the matter would be studied further – including a survey of each firehouse's information technology system – and a proposal for implementation would be put forth.