By Beth Sanders Young, Community Writer
Zachary has yet another reason to be proud. Dan Wallis, who joined the Zachary Fire Department as a Jr. volunteer firefighter at the age of seventeen, now holds the top position of State Fire Marshal.
In a ceremony held on May 16th, outgoing State Fire Marshal, Butch Browning, officially passed the baton to Wallis. Surrounded by friends, family, colleagues, and distinguished guests, Wallis thanked his predecessor and described his vision for the department. He plans to build upon the outstanding foundation that was laid by Fire Marshal Browning, by meeting with the public to address the needs and concerns of the citizens, businesses, and organizations throughout Louisiana. He stressed that he will promote the importance of smoke detectors in all homes, adding that this is a primary goal of the agency.
Wallis credits his drive and ambition to his experience with the Zachary Fire Department.
“Although Zachary was a small town, the fire department was always adequately funded, and the community supported a department that was progressive. I learned that anyone that has patience, determination, the will to work, and the support of family and community can certainly make a difference in any career,” said the lifelong Zachary area resident.
Starting in Zachary
Wallis was hired by the Zachary Fire Department as a career firefighter in 1980 and held many different ranks before being promoted to Fire Chief in 1999.
“I feel blessed, I feel honored, and I feel challenged to carry on a tradition that has been long enjoyed by this agency and by the Louisiana Fire Service and moving forward to provide a safe environment by doing the best that we can do and bringing out the best in people in positioning for success,” he said.
Wallis also stated that his desire to be well-trained, sought continual training, and furthering education was a catalyst in preparing him for his new position.
Browning Says Farewell
During his farewell address, newly retired State Fire Marshal Browning said, “Dan and I have been together for the better part of our lives. When Dan got here in 2008, we knew we had a mission. Our mission was to make this agency a public service agency. To make this agency not only responsive in the core missions that it does, but an agency that is responsive when the state is in trouble.” He continued by stating, “But the most important thing that I want everyone to know is this: Today is about welcoming someone who is going to make this agency better than it ever could have been, and I’m going to hold him to that. And I made some promises to Dan. I’m going to be in the parking lot, not in the building, but I’m going to be real close. And when Dan needs something, all he has to do is call me, because I know where Dan’s heart is, and I know where his commitment is.”
Browning will now serve as the Executive Director of the National Association of State Fire Marshals.
The State Fire Marshal’s office performs many vital services to the state. The department regulates multiple entities and agencies, the installation and sale of manufactured homes, fire alarms, fire sprinkler systems, closed circuit tv systems, and locksmiths, to name just a few. It also serves as a resource to Louisiana Fire Service in times of emergency, coordinating with law enforcement partners, arson investigations, building inspections, plan review and many other duties.
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