Tennessee State Fire Marshal’s Office Receives National Life Safety Award
NASHVILLE – The National Association of State Fire Marshals (NASFM) awarded Tennessee Department of Commerce & Insurance (TDCI) Deputy Commissioner Gary L. West and TDCI’s Fire Prevention Division with the 2017 Olin Greene Outstanding Fire Prevention Service Award at the NASFM Annual Conference held in Charleston, South Carolina on July 31, 2017.
The Olin Greene Outstanding Fire Prevention Service Award, named in honor of former U.S. Fire Administrator and NASFM founder Olin Greene, is a lifetime achievement award established in 2008. It is awarded to those who have dedicated their career to fire prevention and public safety, and have achieved substantial accomplishments while doing it.
“We chose to recognize Deputy Commissioner West and his staff with this award because of the tremendous life safety accomplishments they have made in Tennessee,” said NASFM Executive Director Jim Narva. “The passion, progress, and commitment they have for increasing fire and life safety in the Volunteer State embodies what the Olin Greene Outstanding Service Award is all about.”
West, who was appointed by TDCI Commissioner Julie Mix McPeak to lead the Fire Prevention Division in March of 2011, has been active in emergency services for nearly 40 years. He was named as NASFM’s secretary-treasurer in 2016.
“I’m honored to be chosen, along with my team, as a recipient of this prestigious fire prevention award,” said Deputy Commissioner West. “I’m proud of the progress we, under the leadership of Commissioner McPeak and with the partnership of local fire departments, have made to address the fire mortality problem in Tennessee. We know we have more work to do, but I have no doubt our staff and our state will continue to rise to the challenge of preventing as many residential fire deaths as possible.”
The State Fire Marshal’s Office has focused on lowering Tennessee’s fire fatality rate by strengthening partnerships with local fire departments, fine-tuning community risk reduction processes, and increasing availability of fire safety education and working smoke alarms for Tennessee residents. Once one of the top 10 states for fire fatalities, Tennessee has now moved outside the top 10 according to new calculations from the National Fire Protection Association (NFPA).
The State Fire Marshal’s Office and its fire service partners have documented 190 saved lives from potential fire danger since 2012 through the “Get Alarmed, Tennessee!” smoke-alarm installation program. Over 150,000 free smoke alarms have been distributed by the SFMO and its partners across Tennessee through this program.
Prior to being appointed to the State Fire Marshal's Office, West served as a fire and emergency services management consultant with the University of Tennessee’s Municipal Technical Advisory Service (MTAS) and helped develop a statewide mutual aid system for deploying fire resources to disasters. His career experience also includes serving as fire chief of the Gatlinburg Fire and Rescue Department. West received his bachelor’s degree in organizational management from Tusculum College and a master’s degree in business administration from Lincoln Memorial University. In 2015 he was awarded the prestigious H.D. Crossnine Award by the Southeastern Association of Fire Chiefs.
West currently volunteers as a firefighter with the Ashland City Fire Department in Ashland City, Tennessee where he lives with his wife Suzie.