In 1964 the State Fire Marshal’s Office (SFMO) was established in accordance with the Utah State Fire Prevention Law, UCA 53-7-101. The SFMO is responsible for the recommendation, adoption and enforcement of fire codes in public buildings.
Additionally, the SFMO assists in the development and presentation of fire service training programs, coordination of fire prevention efforts, regulation of the LP Gas and fire extinguisher servicing industries and fire/arson investigation. Architectural plans are reviewed for fire code adherence and inspections of public buildings are also major assignments. Data about location, frequency, and severity of fires, civilian and fire service injuries and death as a result of fire is collected through the Utah Fire Incident Reporting System (UFIRS).
Governor Calvin Rampton appointed Utah’s first State Fire Marshal, Robert A. Tanner, who served from 1964 to 1974. Following Fire Marshal Tanner was Robert D. Riddell who served from 1974 to 1976. Grant Walker was appointed in 1976 and served until 1981 when Steve M. Kennedy was appointed. Fire Marshal Kennedy retired in 1987 and Lynn Borg was appointed by Governor Norman Bangerter. In 1996 Governor Mike Leavitt appointed Gary A. Wise to serve as Utah’s sixth State Fire Marshal. Gary retired in 2005 and Ron Morris was appointed by Governor Jon M. Huntsman Jr. as the seventh State Fire Marshal. Ron accepted a fire chief position early in 2011 and Commissioner D. Lance Davenport, Department of Public Safety, appointed Brent R. Halladay as the eighth State Fire Marshal. Governor Gary Herbert approved the appointment in April, 2011.
The SFMO reported directly to the Governor’s office from 1964 to 1981. In 1981 the SFMO became a Division of the Department of Public Safety by Executive Order of the Governor Scott Matheson.
Highlights of the SFMO include:
- 1971: Arson Investigations initiated by the Governor Calvin Rampton
- 1971: Adoption of Nursing Home Regulations
- 1978: The National Fire Incident Reporting System implemented in Utah
- 1981: Became a Division of Department of Public Safety
- 1991: Juvenile Fire Setter Program in place
- 1993: Utah Fire & Rescue Academy was established by the Utah State Legislature; operates under the authority of the Utah Fire Prevention Board and the SFMO
- 1998: Implemented a Life Safety Trailer Program providing local fire departments with Public Education tools which they can utilize to deliver localized education to their communities.
- 2000: National Fire Incident Reporting System 5.0 adopted as Utah’s incident reporting standard.
- 2007: The Reduced Cigarette Ignition Propensity and Firefighter Protection Act (commonly referred to as fire safe cigarettes) was passed by the Utah State Legislature.
- 2009: Protect Children From Dangerous Lighters Act passed by Utah State Legislature.