Handled With Care

San Joaquin County Office of Emergency Services

Safe handling of hazardous materials as well as emergency response in the event of a spill are complex, challenging tasks governed by a web of regulations affecting both businesses and public safety agencies. But in San Joaquin County, California, business compliance with State emergency planning requirements, and subsequent coordination with local first responders, is made smooth and efficient — thanks to FileMaker Pro, the award–winning database software application from FileMaker, Inc.


  • In hazardous material emergencies, seconds count, and advance planning for emergency situations is vital. In San Joaquin County, California, emergency response plans are made instantly available over the web through a powerful network of FileMaker Pro databases.


  • Government

Business Challenge

When emergencies strike, it's no time to sit down and wonder what to do — the time to prepare for a crisis is before it happens. And that's the job of the San Joaquin County Office of Emergency Services — overseeing emergency protocol compliance for the more than 2,300 business facilities in San Joaquin County where hazardous materials are stored or handled, as well as the dozens of public safety agencies across the county who handle emergency responses at these facilities. In times of emergency, seconds count, and quick, efficient access to response plans and related information is essential. And that's where FileMaker Pro makes a difference.

Successful Solution

"Our office adopted FileMaker Pro as its primary database solution in the early 1990s," notes Ronald Baldwin, the county Director of Emergency Services. "The office was responsible for managing a large amount of data from 2300 business sites, making it easy for businesses to comply, thus improving the quality and accuracy of data in the database and making the data immediately available to public safety agencies for their use in emergency response. The office also wanted a database application that could be developed and maintained by non–technical persons in the office to eliminate over reliance on outside consultants and third party applications."

FileMaker Pro has proven to be a sound foundation for the development of our web–based compliance system.

— Ronald Baldwin, Director of Emergency Services, San Joaquin County Office of Emergency Services

The office worked with Richard Carlson Consulting, Inc. to implement a web–based Hazardous Materials Program Compliance System, creating a web based interface to the main FileMaker Pro database using WebStar and Lasso software. Businesses log into the system using unique passwords, and are able to adjust or update their emergency response plan information as needed. These updates result in an automatic notification to Office of Emergency Services personnel, so that hard copies may be printed out for backup. Public safety agencies are issued their own passwords, granting immediate 24–hour access to the entire database, so that if an emergency happens, the necessary response plan is just a click away. All telephone contacts or correspondence related to the system can also be generated automatically from within the database which contains over 5300 facility records — both existing and defunct businesses — along with 18,000 records documenting specific characteristics and quantities of individual hazardous materials handled in the community. All of this information is managed using a series of 10 related FileMaker Pro databases.

Customer Benefits

And it's an efficient system. "With the same number of people as we had seven years ago, we now manage a program that has grown by over 30 per cent in that time," comments Ronald. "This has allowed us to keep administration fees charged to businesses the same despite rising costs. Businesses have commented that we have reduced their workload for complying with this program from 7 hours a year to just 10 minutes, through our progressive development of run–time and now web–based electronic systems. FileMaker Pro has proven to be a sound foundation for the development of our web–based compliance system."

For FileMaker:

Kevin Mallon
Public Relations Manager
FileMaker Inc.

For San Joaquin County Office of Emergency Services:

Ronald Baldwin
Director of Emergency Services
San Joaquin County Office of Emergency Services

For Richard Carlton Consulting:

Richard Carlton Consulting