The mission of the State Fire Marshal Agency is to strengthen Nebraska by preserving the life and property of the commonwealth through fire prevention, education, and enforcement.
The Fire Marshal’s office was organized on April 3, 1909 by a legislative act known as the Fire Commission Law. A. U. Johnson was appointed as the first State Fire Marshal with a staff of two deputies. Over the years the duties of the SFM office have evolved from safety inspections and fire investigations to include natural gas pipeline safety, aboveground and underground storage tank regulation, emergency responder training, hazardous materials response, fireworks licensing, fire alarm inspector licensing, building plan reviews and enforcement of accessibility guidelines. The current State Fire Marshal, Christopher Cantrell, oversees 65 full-time employees assigned to one of six divisions – Administrative, Enforcement, Investigations, Fuels, Plans Review and Training.
- The Administrative Division is comprised of the Fire Marshal, Assistant State Fire Marshal, Business Manager, Legal Counsel, Public Information Officer/Fire Prevention Deputy and the support staff. The Division is responsible for providing administrative leadership and clerical support to maintain and operate the Agency.
- The Enforcement Division is comprised of three districts, each supervised by a District Chief Deputy State Fire Marshal. The eighteen Deputies assigned to these districts perform various inspections for life safety.
- The Fuels Division is comprised of two programs, the Tank Program and the Pipeline Safety Program. The Division is overseen by a Chief Deputy State Fire Marshal, and employs ten Deputies and two support staff. Deputies and staff in the Tank Program inspect all underground storage tank (UST) facilities for compliance with federal EPA rules and regulations, inspect all new underground tank and piping installations, and existing tank removals, and oversee a licensing and certification system for tank installers, removers, and cathodic protection testers . The four deputies in the Pipeline Safety Program inspect all intrastate gas pipeline operators for compliance with federal DOT regulations and are also involved in promoting safe digging practices and the use of the Nebraska One-Call Notification System.
- The Investigations Division is comprised of a Chief Deputy State Fire Marshal and seven investigators. These investigators are all certified law enforcement personnel and are designated as Special State Sheriffs. The Division’s responsibilities include investigation of suspicious fires and fire-related deaths, post-blast explosions and arson-related crimes. Investigators also inspect fireworks storage facilities and conduct investigations involving unlawful use and sale of fireworks.
- The Plans Review Division is responsible for the review of plans for compliance with fire and accessibility codes, coordination of enforcement with the delegated authority cities and general code enforcement.
- The Training Division is comprised of a Chief Deputy State Fire Marshal, six Training Specialists, a Staff Assistant and numerous part-time instructors. The Training Division operates a statewide training program for emergency responders, and is the only recognized source within the State of Nebraska for accredited firefighter professional certification, based on accreditation from the International Fire Service Accreditation Congress (IFSAC) and the Fire Service Professional Qualifications System (ProBoard).