State Fire Marshal Brian Mitchell spoke to the Optimist Club of Marianna recently.
Mitchell joined the Jackson County Sheriff’s Office in 2005 after completing his bachelor’s degree. After serving in several capacities with JCSO he joined the Fire Marshal’s Office in 2014, which is a division of the Insurance Commissioner’s Office.
The department he works for is titled the Division of Investigative and Forensic Services. There are 404 agencies throughout the state that may request the services from the Fire Marshal’s Office. They are available 24 hours a day, 365 days a year.
Mitchell’s area of responsibility extends from Interstate 75 to US Highway 231. He deals primarily with fire, arson, and explosive investigations.
When an arson investigator is hired by the state, they initially go through a 16-week training program and are on call 24 hours a day for those 16 weeks. They respond to any and all investigative requests during that period. They also have to successfully complete eight classes at the State Fire College in Ocala.
As of Dec. 8, 2020, the State Fire Marshal’s Office had responded to 2,768 requests for investigative assistance state-wide. In this region they have responded to 230 call-outs and 50 emergency ordinance disposal calls, or bomb threats/suspicious packages.
Brian has now received certification as a Bomb Disposal Technician, a six-week long intensive training program. His services are available to federal, state, and local agencies as well as post-blast investigation services. He expressed a heart-felt thank-you to State Farm Insurance and pointed out that they provide accelerant protection K-9’s for the entire United States free of charge.
At the conclusion of his presentation, Mitchell offered some safety tips to avoid excessive loss of property or loss of life in the event of a fire:
-Have a fire extinguisher and don’t store it in the kitchen. If a fire starts in the kitchen, due to the proximity of the fire, it may prevent you from being able to retrieve the extinguisher.
-Unplug appliances when you are sleeping or away from home.
-Keep space heaters free from dust and build up and keep them away from other items.
-Close interior doors of your home when you are away. This prevents the rapid spread of fire throughout the house.
-Have a fire and C02 detector.
-Do not run your dryer or dishwasher when you are asleep or away from home. They are the cause of a surprising number of fires each year.
The Optimist Club of Marianna expressed appreciation for Mitchell’s dedication and service to the community.