Steven M. Smith was officially promoted to head the Clark County Fire
Department at a badge pinning ceremony on February 1, 2006. He is the eighth
fire chief for the state’s largest fire department and one of the nation’s most
Chief Smith, who has worked for the department since 1980, has been a county
battalion chief since 1997. Battalion chief is the highest-ranking suppression
position in the department. As battalion chief, he managed emergency response
efforts at significant incidents, coordinated the training, inspections,
community service requests and staffing of equipment for about 60 fire
personnel in nine stations. Before that, he worked as a fire captain, a fire
engineer and a firefighter/paramedic.
Shortly after joining the department, he helped fight the horrific MGM Grand
fire on Nov. 21, 1980, which killed 87 people and injured 679. Three months
later, he battled the Las Vegas Hilton fire, which killed eight.
Chief Smith, a former U.S. Marine, has been an active member of the community.
He is involved in awarding an annual scholarship through the UNLV Athletic
Foundation and three academic scholarships through the Clark County Public
Education Foundation. He also has lent his support to the annual Susan G. Komen
Foundation “Breast Cancer Run” and to Child Haven, a county facility for abused
and neglected children. He is married to Jill Smith and has two sons.
Chief Smith oversees a fire department that is responsible for protecting the
Las Vegas Strip, the largest part of the Las Vegas Valley, and a county the
size of New Jersey. His purview also covers the resort townships of Laughlin,
Primm and Jean. The department is an active one, responding to more than
101,000 incidents in 2005 – 3,809 fires, 74,287 medical calls and 23,649 other
calls, including technical rescues, hazardous material incidences and false
alarms. Volunteers responded to 2,150 calls.
The department’s total service area encompasses 7,910 square miles with an urban
planning area of 293 square miles. In addition, the fire department also
maintains one of only 28 Urban Search & Rescue Teams in the country,
provides fire and rescue services to the nation’s sixth-busiest airport and
maintains heavy rescue and hazardous materials teams.