301.519.9237 exdirector@nesaus.org
Butch Browning

5.6.22 – US News -NEW ORLEANS (AP)

Louisiana’s longest-serving state fire marshal is stepping down. Butch Browning is leaving office to become executive director of the National Association of State Fire Marshals later this month, according to Gov. John Bel Edwards.

Browning was first appointed in 2008 and served under two, two-term governors.

Edwards’ Wednesday announcement credits Browning with implementing higher safety standards for building and construction, improved arson abatement across the state and development of “a robust, responsive, and recognized Urban Search and Rescue program.”

The governor’s office said in a news release that State Fire Marshal Deputy Assistant Secretary Daniel H. Wallis will succeed Browning. Wallis’ career dates back to 1980, when he joined the Zachary Fire Department.

Edwards issued the following statement on Browning’s retirement:

“Butch has been a valued member of my cabinet, helping lead our state through some of the strongest hurricanes and severe weather on record. His expertise and knowledge were crucial to helping work with the business community as we navigated ways in which to keep communities safe during the unprecedented COVID-19 pandemic. He and his team spent countless days including weekends working with and educating business owners. I will always be grateful for his service and dedication to our citizens and the men and women of the State Fire Marshal’s Office,” Edwards said. “Not only has Butch provided tremendous service for our state during times of crisis, but he has extended a helping hand to other states when they have faced emergencies. His impressive work is known across the country, and I am certain that he will continue to be a great leader. I am pleased to welcome Dan Wallis as our new state fire marshal. Dan has the years of experience and proven track record that will benefit our state, and I have every confidence in his ability to lead this department.”

Browning was first appointed in 2008 and has served through two, two-term governors.

Under Browning’s leadership, Edwards said the state fire marshal’s office has become a leader for the business community to depend on. He has implemented higher safety standards for building and construction and increased arson abatement across the state to professional levels that has received nationwide recognition. Lastly, he has developed, from the ground up, a robust, responsive, and recognized Urban Search and Rescue program that puts the SFM at the forefront of disaster response at a moment’s notice across Louisiana and beyond.

“This is a bittersweet day for me as I am so proud to look back on what this agency has become over the past 14 years, but also that I will not be as integral of a part of its bright future, though I will remain its strongest cheerleader from the sidelines,” Browning said in an issued statement. “I want to thank Governor Edwards for allowing me to serve the citizens, specifically the fire and life safety industry. I look forward to using my 34 years of experience to not only promote the great work of Louisiana firefighters, but also to be a partner in national change as it relates to better safety, protection, and economic development. I hope that the dedicated men and women of this agency continue to be held to the utmost appreciation and gratitude for the great work that they do every single day and I am confident Dan Wallis will exceed the successes that we have brought about to this agency together.”

State Fire Marshal Deputy Assistant Secretary Daniel H. Wallis has been named as Browning’s successor, according to Edwards. Wallis has been a member of the fire service for nearly 30 years working with the Zachary Fire Department where he was recognized as Firefighter of the Year in his first year as a career fireman in 1980 and was named that department’s fire chief in 2000.

As deputy state fire marshal, Wallis played a key role in the reorganization of the agency to incorporate cross-training of deputies to make the agency more efficient. Most recently, he helped lead the transition of the Louisiana Fire & Emergency Training Academy (FETA) from LSU to the State Fire Marshal’s Office, according to Edwards.

Edwards said Wallis is a lifetime member of the Louisiana State Firemen’s Association, the Louisiana Fire Chiefs’ Association and he is also a member of the Louisiana Arson and Fire Prevention Association and the International Fire Chiefs’ Association.

“It is an honor that the governor and the citizens of Louisiana have the confidence in me to continue the positive progression of this agency as its leader,” Wallis said in an issued statement, “I will work diligently with the men and women of the State Fire Marshal’s Office, the Louisiana fire service and all other public and private partners of this agency, especially our esteemed law enforcement agencies, to provide progressive, efficient and accessible service to the people of this great state.”