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Hays Co. appoints new Fire Marshal

Submitted report 


The Hays County Commissioners Court appointed a new Fire Marshal during its May 24 meeting, which also saw the county restructure its emergency management office. 

The Commissioners Court named Clint Browning, who has served as Assistant Fire Marshal in Hays County for four years, Fire Marshal on May 24. 

Browning succeeds Mark Chambers, who retired from the position this year. 

Browning will report to Kharley Smith, Director of the newly organized Office of Emergency Services, which includes the Fire Marshal’s Office and the Office of Emergency Management. 

The reorganization is expected to help the county better coordinate related planning and response resources.

Prior to joining Hays County, Browning served with the city of Lockhart as a firefighter, peace officer, paramedic and city fire marshal. He has multiple certifications and has taught classes at many state and federal agencies.

“It’s a coup for Hays County to have someone with Clint’s knowledge and experience already on board,” Smith said. “I echo the words of the court that we are very glad someone of his caliber is available for us.”

The Fire Marshal, a certified peace officer, is responsible for investigating all fires and explosions in the unincorporated areas of Hays County and determining if arson is a suspected factor. If arson is suspected, the fire marshal works with other law enforcement agencies to find and arrest any perpetrators. In fires caused by accident, the fire marshal takes action to inform property owners and manufacturers to help prevent similar accidents in the future.

Restructuring Hays County’s Emergency Management 

Smith will continue to serve as Emergency Management Coordinator under the direction of the county judge as well as director of the Office of Emergency Services. She has served as the Emergency Management Coordinator for the past three years, and has more than 15 years experience with area emergency services. 

Smith started her employment with Hays County in the Emergency 911 Center while attending Texas State University. After obtaining a degree in Public Administration she furthered her training in homeland security, bio-terrorism, incident command and emergency management.

As the Emergency Management Coordinator, Smith is responsible for hazard mitigation planning, emergency operations and response to and recovery from large-scale emergencies throughout the County. 

Justin McInnis is the new Assistant Emergency Management Coordinator for Hays County. 

He previously worked with the U.S. Geological Survey (USGS) constructing local early warning systems, collecting waterway data and with myriad USGS projects nationally and internationally. 

McInnis installed and maintained scientific equipment in Jacob’s Well and Barton Springs, among other sites, and has collected Gulf of Mexico water samples to assess damage following the BP oil spill.

Laurie Taylor, who joined the County in September of 2015, will continue to serve as office manager for the Office of Emergency Services. With a lengthy background in human resources record-keeping, reporting and systems, she also worked at the Texas Commission on Fire Protection where she managed administrative work and the Fire Fighter Injury Reporting program. 

The Office of Emergency Services is located at the county’s Yarrington Road complex.

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